Nutritional and health effects of the consumption of breadfruit. (52)
Keywords:macronutrients, minerals, vitamins, bioactive components, prebiotics, probiotics, non-communicable diseases
AbstractBreadfruit constitutes not only an important crop in many parts of the world, but it is also a rich source of several nutrients. The purpose of this review paper is to demonstrate the nutritional and health benefits of the consumption of breadfruit due to its rich nutrient profile. Breadfruit is an important energy food, because it contains starch and sugar, which are a readily available source of energy. Depending on the degree of ripeness, breadfruit may contain ample amount of carotenoids, the precursors to vitamin A. Both carotenoids and vitamin A play an important role in maintaining the functions of immune system and eyesight. Breadfruit contains both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, which is important in the maintenance of a healthy gut. Breadfruit, particularly some unseeded varieties, can be a good source of vitamin C, which helps not only in fighting infections by boosting the immune system, but also plays a significant role in maintaining the integrity of bones. Depending on the variety, breadfruit seeds can be a moderate source of protein, which is important for growth and development. Breadfruit also contains relatively high amounts of potassium, which are necessary for nerve and muscle function as well as decreasing blood pressure. The fermented form of breadfruit may contain probiotics, which are important in the prevention and management of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Further, breadfruit is believed to possess many medicinal properties; for example, practitioners of folk medicine have used the slightly yellow leaves to brew a tea that is taken to reduce high blood pressure. It is thought that the tea also controls diabetes. Hence, breadfruit is an excellent staple option when compared to refined foods.