Love yourself: a vegan meat with incredible health benefits
Jackfruit, or known in science as Artocarpus heterophyllus, is a large fruit (often weighting up to 8-9 kgs) which can be used both as a sweet dessert when well ripened, but also as a great meat substitute, roughly one month before its ripening time.
Since it’s February, in most Countries of the world you will find unripe Jackfruit, therefore this recipe is a proper savoury and spicy curried dish, typical from South India.
Not only the taste resembles impressively that of meat, but also the protein content and energy delivered from this fruit is comparable. On the contrary though, this plant-based dish has no cholesterol, very little fat (its main component is water, by 80%) and provides a number of health benefits.
Let’s see which ones:
Health benefits of Jackfruit:
Jackfruit is literally bursting with anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, preserving cells and their DNA, which can otherwise get damaged after several rounds of cell divisions (as we age).
Wrinkles, whitening and loss of hair & increased vulnerability to infections are the consequences of producing too many free radicals and not intaking enough anti-oxidants to counterbalance. Thus, further dysregulation may occur, promoting the initiation of cancers. (1,2)
The high contents of Vitamin C present in Jackfruit make this fruit the king of immune system, helping us fight from the common cold and man flu to more serious conditions.
Eating Jackfruits, rich in water, also keeps skin moisturised, gifting it with a beautiful glow. This further reduces the light wrinkles and fine lines on the skin, making it look even younger.
Interested in more anti-ageing dishes? Why not saving these for later.. “DNA-repairing pumpkin curry” & “An ancient recipe to reduce the effects of ageing: dolmades”
2) Cardiovascular health
Maintain ideal blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack one bite at the time. How?
Jackfruit contains high levels of Potassium, a mineral essential for electrolyte balance. When Potassium is not sufficient, Sodium levels spike, which in turn increases blood pressure and can result in hypertension and many other cardiovascular issues, such as heart attacks or strokes.
Moreover, Potassium is responsible for coordinating and maintaining muscle function, including heart muscles, making jackfruit a great choice for anyone with heart issues such as arrhythmias and anginas. (3)
For more food ideas to improve your heart health, please visit: “A cardioprotective roast” & “Indian porridge to protect your cardiac function”
3) Colorectal cancer & haemorrhoids
Jackfruit contains both soluble and insoluble fibre at very high contents. The insoluble fibre adds bulk to stools and allows a prompt exit, avoiding a build up in the intestines. Thus, improving digestion and preventing constipation.
Moreover, the antioxidants present in jackfruit are essential at preventing cell damage at the colon, and maintain a clean intestine.
These factors are fundamental for avoiding chronic constipation, one of the leading causes of haemorrhoids, as well as the formation of polyps in the colon lining, which can progress in colon cancers. (4,5)
Many plant-based foods can help preventing and managing cancers: “Anti-tumoral chilli chocolate gelato (dairy-free)”
4) Bone health
People suffering from arthritis & osteoporosis are highly recommended to include jackfruit in their diets.
Not only jackfruits contain a high amount of calcium which strengthens and promotes healthy bones, but also their high levels of Potassium, further decreases the loss of calcium through kidneys for an overall care of our frame structure. (6)
Are you interested in more delicious recipe to prevent bones weakening? Check this out: “Lasagne for optimal bones health (vegan)”
Jackfruit Tikka Masala
- Red chilli powder – 4-6 teaspoons (depending from how spicy you like it!).
- Turmeric – 1/2 tablespoon.
- Salt – to taste.
- Garlic ginger paste – two tablespoons.
- Raw unripe jackfruit (4-5 cups) (Alternatively, use canned jackfruit but watch from sugar and messy preservatives!!)
- Lemon juice – two tablespoons.
- Prepare the garlic ginger paste:
- Grind 7-8 cloves of garlic with 1 inch ginger (pinky) and little water until a paste is formed
2. Prepare the tikka masala marinate:
- Take 2 TBSP of garlic ginger paste
- Add 2 TBSP lemon juice
- Add spices (turmeric, red chilli powder) and salt to taste
- Mix well
3. Cut jackfruit (with the aid of a little coconut oil on the knife in case it is too sticky)
4. Marinate Jackfruit
- Apply the paste to the jackfruit pieces and let it set in the freezer for 2 hours
5. Barbeque your jackfruit
- Skewers may be used
- BBQ or use a very hot oven (grill mode) for 15 minutes approx
- Squeeze a little extra lemon on top
Enjoy with a green chutney and a plain naan!
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- Fantone JC, Ward PA. Role of oxygen-derived free radicals and metabolites in leukocyte-dependent inflammatory reactions. The American Journal of Pathology. 1982;107(3):395-418.
- Rahman K. Studies on free radicals, antioxidants, and co-factors. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2007;2(2):219-236.
- Treasure J, Ploth D. 1983. Role of dietary potassium in the treatment of hypertension. Hypertension, 5 (6), 864-72.
- Pericleous M, Mandair D, Caplin ME. Diet and supplements and their impact on colorectal cancer. Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology. 2013;4(4):409-423.
- Nisar PJ, Scholefield JH. Managing haemorrhoids. BMJ : British Medical Journal. 2003;327(7419):847-851.
- Flynn, Albert. “The role of dietary calcium in bone health.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 62.04 (2003): 851-858.