Breadfruit: The Next Superfood

  • Breadfruit is a green, round fruit that has a starchy interior eaten by people from the tropics and the South Pacific region for centuries.
  • Just 100 grams of breadfruit contain protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, carotenoids and have a moderate glycemic index.
  • It is an alternative protein and high fiber source for global food sustainability.

Take a hold of these stats: 100 grams of breadfruit = 4 grams of protein, over 5 grams of fiber, plus other nutrients like magnesium and potassium, carotenoids like lutein, and a moderate glycemic index. That’s according to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Breadfruits come from large trees that grow in the tropics and bear greenish fruits that are 4 to 8 inches round and have starchy flesh (think potato). It is boiled, steamed, and baked though traditional cooking methods using fire.

Although it has been part of the diet of people in the South Pacific and other tropical areas for centuries, it has the potential of joining the ranks of the world’s superfoods.

Susan Murch, a chemistry professor in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science said, “While people have survived on it for thousands of years, there was a lack of basic scientific knowledge of the health impacts of a breadfruit-based diet in both humans and animals.”

This led researchers to study and determine whether including breadfruit in the diet will not pose any health concern. They used breadfruit flour and tested it on mice and found out that breadfruit protein is easier to digest than wheat protein.

Photo Credit: Aida’s Kitchen

According to doctoral student Ying Lu who led the study, “Our data showed that a breadfruit diet does not impose any toxic impact. Fundamental understanding of the health impact of breadfruit digestion and diets is necessary and imperative to the establishment of breadfruit as a staple or as a functional food in the future.”

The researchers also believe that breadfruit could be an alternative for global food sustainability as well as a healthier alternative to grains with its higher fiber levels and other nutrients.

Liu said, “Overall, these studies support the use of breadfruit as part of a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet. Flour produced from breadfruit is a gluten-free, low glycemic index, nutrient-dense, and complete protein option for modern foods.”

Source: Mind Body Green

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