Breadfruit: Properties and Benefits

Breadfruit: Properties and Benefits


Superfoods  are foods of plant origin particularly rich in essential nutrients and with numerous  beneficial properties for health . The most famous are:  goji berries , chia or hemp seeds, ginseng , broccoli , turmeric and green tea. Now an interesting new entry seems to have arrived to expand the family: the fruit of the breadfruit tree.

This was revealed by a study by the Okanagan Campus of the University of British Columbia which, in addition to noting the enormous benefits of this food for people, recognized its high sustainability , given that cultivation and production generate minimal environmental impact. Despite the name, it clearly has nothing to do with bread, the staple food of many populations of the world. To choose the type of bread suitable for your diet , it is useful to know the variants, flours, yeasts and properties.

Breadfruit: What it is

Also known by the name of  Ulu , the breadfruit is a tropical plant of the Moraceae family, widespread above all in South-East Asia, India, Oceania and Hawaii.

Its fruit is round, similar to a melon , and at least ten centimeters in diameter. The rind is rough and light green in colour, while the internal pulp is almost completely white and has a floury consistency . The floury consistency and the taste of the pulp give its name to this unusual species, much more similar to that of freshly baked bread or potatoes than to that of a juicy fruit.

Food basis of the Caribbean populations

For centuries, the breadfruit has represented the largest part of the diet of the inhabitants of the areas in which it grows in abundance but, despite its enormous diffusion in those places, no study had ever investigated its properties. “Until now, there has been a major gap and lack of scientific insights into the health impacts of a diet primarily centered on breadfruit in both humans and animals,” said Susan Murch, a researcher at UBC Okanagan. .

The British Columbia Research

To fill this gap, the team set up a project that examined the impact of consuming breadfruit, starting with its effects on digestion .

“The fruit can be eaten raw when ripe, or cooked, oven-roasted, fried , or dried and ground into a flour and repurposed into many types of dishes,” explains Ying Liu, who conducted her research with colleagues at the Natural Health and Food Products Research Group of the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the Breadfruit Institute- National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii.

The scholars examined the reactions of a group of mice to which doses of this dehydrated fruit were administered for three weeks. Then, they compared them to another group who were fed conventional wheat or other grains instead .

A highly digestible food

The data collected during the study made it possible to establish that breadfruit  protein seems easier to digest than plain wheat. Furthermore, mice fed this type of diet had a significantly higher growth rate and body weight than mice fed standard values.

The research group also noted that in animals that followed the bread diet, the daily consumption of water was significantly higher than in those which, on the other hand, were kept on the wheat diet. And as at the end of the study period, body composition was similar between the two groups examined.

«Our data therefore showed that a diet based on breadfruit fruits is not harmful to health at all, in fact, exactly the opposite. We can say with certainty that these are very functional staple foods ».

There are many benefits that make breadfruit a superfood

This discovery immediately placed the new fruit alongside other superfoods and at the same time made it a precious resource for fighting world hunger , also by virtue of its high sustainability and excellent nutritional and energy intake.

It is, in fact, a food rich in carbohydrates, gluten -free and low in fat, with good quantities of calcium , magnesium , iron , fiber , vitamins B1 and B3 and above all potassium . It seems, in fact, that it alone contains the equivalent of potassium present in ten bananas .

Thanks to its low glycemic index , comparable to that of many common staple foods such as wheat, cassava and potatoes, consuming it regularly fights diabetes. In addition, it offers a great protein intake.

According to the researchers, if a person ate about 189 grams of breadfruit fruit, they could satisfy up to almost 57% of the daily fiber requirement, 34% of the protein requirement and, at the same time, ingest vitamin C, potassium , iron , calcium and phosphorus . Furthermore, its proteins have more amino acids than those of soy , while some varieties of this plant are rich in  antioxidants and carotenoids .

Therefore, introducing its use into your diet can only bring benefits. Among other things, we must not forget that it represents a creative and original food alternative.

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