1. Home
  2. Agripedia

Breadfruit: A Nutrient-Rich Tropical Delight with Diverse Uses, Health Benefits, and Delectable Recipes!

Breadfruit is a versatile tropical fruit packed with nutrients, offering a wide range of culinary possibilities and numerous health benefits.

Shivangi Rai
Breadfruit is a staple amongst peoples of the Pacific Islands and throughout southeast Asia. (Image Courtesy- Pixabay)
Breadfruit is a staple amongst peoples of the Pacific Islands and throughout southeast Asia. (Image Courtesy- Pixabay)

Breadfruit, a versatile fruit belonging to the mulberry and jackfruit botanical family, is widely grown in tropical regions such as the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia.

It is a staple food in countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Southern India. Apart from its abundance and popularity, breadfruit offers numerous health benefits due to its nutritional composition. It is a rich source of vitamin C and thiamine, and it contains high levels of dietary fibre.

The name "breadfruit" derives from its resemblance to bread when cooked at a semi-ripe stage, possessing a texture similar to bread with a hint of potato-like flavour. The roasted seeds of breadfruit have a taste reminiscent of chestnuts and can be consumed boiled, baked, or ground into flour.

Consuming breadfruit can contribute to various health advantages. It has been associated with anti-cancer properties, aids in digestion, and improves bone health, among other benefits. Additionally, breadfruit flour is gluten-free and has a low glycemic index, making it an excellent dietary option for individuals with diabetes.

Considered a superfood, breadfruit is a daily dietary staple for millions worldwide due to its exceptional nutrient profile. Its versatility allows it to enhance a wide range of dishes, from soups to pasta.

Nutritional Content

Breadfruit is gluten-free and possesses an exceptional nutrient content that offers a multitude of medicinal and therapeutic properties. It is abundant in dietary fibre and proteins, including essential amino acids, which play a crucial role in regulating diabetes, reducing cholesterol levels, and promoting healthy skin and hair.

Furthermore, it is rich in vitamin C, B1, B5, as well as minerals like potassium and copper, which contribute to strengthening the immune system and protecting against infections.

How to Use Breadfruit

Breadfruit can be categorized as a vegetable when it is mature but not yet ripe, and as a fruit when it reaches ripeness. In its mature but unripe state, breadfruit is starchy and is often prepared and consumed in a manner similar to potatoes. However, when it ripens, it becomes sweeter and is used as a fruit.

There are approximately 200 known varieties of breadfruit. It's worth noting that many of these varieties have a relieving effect if consumed raw. As a result, breadfruit is typically cooked in some way, such as through steaming, boiling, or roasting, before being consumed.

Health Benefits

  1. Improves Heart Health

Breadfruit's potassium content promotes smooth blood flow and regulates heart muscle contraction, benefiting heart rate and blood pressure. Dietary fibre reduces cholesterol levels, while omega-3 fatty acids increase good cholesterol.

  1. Aids Digestion

Dietary fibre found in breadfruit promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and improves gut health by supporting beneficial bacteria. It also enhances immunity, potentially reducing the risk of infections and inflammation.

  1. Improves Reproductive Health

Breadfruit's omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids contribute to improved fertility in both males and females. Omega-3 fatty acids enhance sperm motility and synthesis, while also benefiting women with PCOD and insulin resistance.

Additionally, the antioxidants in breadfruit have the potential in preventing prostate and ovarian cancers.

  1. Prevents and Controls Diabetes

Breadfruit is a beneficial food choice for individuals with diabetes due to its high dietary fibre and protein content, making it a low glycemic and protein-rich option. Research indicates that breadfruit flour can aid in controlling blood sugar levels, as fibre slows down digestion, preventing rapid spikes in blood glucose after meals.

  1. Helps in Weight Management

Incorporating breadfruit into a weight loss diet plan is beneficial due to its high dietary fibre content, which promotes satiety and reduces the desire for unhealthy snacks. Additionally, its protein density, including essential amino acids, aids in muscle building and boosts metabolism, aiding in weight loss.

  1. Improves Brain Function

Breadfruit is a nutrient-rich fruit, containing iron, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients. Iron is vital for proper blood cell function and oxygen transport, preventing anaemia and ensuring sufficient oxygen supply to the brain.

Antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by combating oxidative damage and protecting brain cells and tissues, slowing disease progression.

  1. Prevents Cancer

Antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids have cancer-preventive properties by reducing free radicals, which contribute to uncontrolled cell growth. They inhibit cancer development and can aid in the destruction of cancer cells based on research findings.

  1. Improves Bone Health

Breadfruit is rich in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium, which are crucial for healthy bones. These minerals enhance bone density, strengthen the skeletal structure, and reduce the risk of conditions like osteoporosis. Additionally, breadfruit's vitamin K content further aids in preventing bone disorders.

  1. Regulates Blood Pressure

Research suggests that breadfruit's potassium content possesses antihypertensive properties, widening arteries and reducing stress on blood vessels. This promotes smoother blood flow, regulates blood pressure, and helps prevent hypertension, which can lead to stroke or heart failure.

  1. Improves Skin Health

Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis, enhancing skin elasticity and promoting the regeneration of new skin cells. It also protects the skin from sun damage caused by UVA and UVB rays, reducing signs of ageing. Including breadfruit in your diet can help maintain youthful-looking skin and overall appearance.

  1. Strengthens Immunity

In addition to the well-known immune benefits of antioxidants, fibre also plays a role in supporting immunity. Fibre acts as nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria, promoting their growth and inhibiting harmful bacteria. Breadfruit's anti-inflammatory properties enhance immune responses against pathogens and assist in maintaining regular bowel movements.

Other Uses of Breadfruit

Not just a substantial food source, the breadfruit tree also offers a multitude of other advantageous uses.

Gluten-Free Flour: Processing breadfruit into gluten-free flour results in a superior alternative to other flour options in terms of taste, nutrition, and overall structural quality.

Latex: The sap extracted from breadfruit can be utilized as a waterproof caulking for both watercraft and homes, as well as for making chewing gum.

Insect Repellant: Apart from serving as a safer alternative to DEET, the male breadfruit flower demonstrates remarkable efficacy in repelling mosquitoes and other insects.

Animal Feed: Fallen fruits, as well as the leaves of the tree, can be used as nutritious animal feed.

Fabric: Bark fibres from breadfruit trees can be harvested without killing the crop and used for mosquito nets, accessories, clothing, artwork, and paper.

Breadfruit Recipes You Must Try!

Certainly, here are a few breadfruit recipes you should try:

  1. Roasted Breadfruit: Slice the breadfruit into wedges, brush them with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until golden and crispy for a delicious and nutritious side dish.

  2. Breadfruit Chips: Thinly slice the breadfruit and deep fry or bake them until they turn crispy. Sprinkle with salt or your favourite seasoning for a healthier alternative to potato chips.

  3. Breadfruit Curry: Cut the breadfruit into chunks and simmer them in a flavourful curry sauce made with coconut milk, spices, and your choice of vegetables or protein. Serve with rice or roti for a satisfying meal.

Breadfruit Recipe from Kerala. (Image Courtesy- Unsplash)
Breadfruit Recipe from Kerala. (Image Courtesy- Unsplash)
  1. Breadfruit Salad: Combine diced breadfruit with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and your preferred dressing for a refreshing and unique salad option.

  2. Breadfruit Fritters: Mash cooked breadfruit with flour, eggs, herbs, and spices to form a thick batter. Drop a spoonful of the batter into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Serve as a snack or appetizer with a dipping sauce.

  3. Breadfruit Stew: Add breadfruit cubes to a hearty stew made with meat or vegetables, along with broth, herbs, and spices. Allow the flavours to meld together as the breadfruit cooks down, resulting in a rich and comforting dish.

Remember, breadfruit can be prepared in various ways, and its starchy texture makes it versatile in both savoury and sweet dishes. You can feel free to experiment and adapt these recipes to suit your taste preferences.

 

Hence, in conclusion, breadfruit is a versatile and sustainable food source with numerous health benefits and culinary applications. Its rich nutritional profile, adaptability to different climates, and potential to alleviate food insecurity make it a promising crop for future generations.

Take a Quiz on Green Revolution Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters