Although jackfruit flesh is eaten widely, it's also possible to consume jackfruit seeds. These seeds are primarily made of starch, but also contain essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. Jackfruit seeds are even richer in certain nutrients compared to jackfruit flesh.
Jackfruit and Its Seeds
Jackfruit is a very large fruit that resembles a durian. The meat of this fruit has become increasingly popular as a vegan replacement for pork.
Most people buy canned jackfruit, because this fruit is notoriously difficult to prepare as a fresh product. If you've ended up with a whole jackfruit, you'll find that there are a substantial amount of seeds in this fruit. There are between 100 and 500 seeds in each fruit.
Although jackfruit seeds are encased in hard shells, you can roast, boil or steam this part of the jackfruit and eat it too. Cooking your seeds is essential, because they can go bad very quickly once extracted from the fruit.
You should not eat seeds raw because they contain anti-nutrients like lectins and trypsin inhibitors that can make you sick. These anti-nutrients are found in other foods as well, and aren't particularly harmful — they will go away as soon as your jackfruit seeds have been cooked.
Jackfruit Seeds: Nutrition Facts
According to an August 2013 study in the Food Chemistry Journal, jackfruit seeds are 92.8 to 94.5 percent starch. An October 2012 article in the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety Journal reported that every 100 grams of jackfruit seeds contain:
- 6.6 to 7.04 grams of protein
- About 0.4 grams of fat
- 25.8 to 38.4 grams of carbohydrates, in which 1 to 1.5 grams come from fiber
- 13 percent of the daily value (DV) for magnesium
- Up to 9 percent of the DV for phosphorus
- 5 percent of the DV for potassium
- 9 percent of the DV for iron
- 18 percent of the DV for thiamin (vitamin B1)
- Up to 27 percent of the DV for riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- 10 percent of the DV for vitamin C
Jackfruit seeds also contain a range of beneficial bioactive compounds like lignans, isoflavones, saponins and other antioxidants. Every 100 grams of jackfruit seeds also contains small amounts (4 percent of the DV or less) of calcium and vitamin A.
Jackfruit Seeds Versus Jackfruit Nutrition
- 1.7 grams of protein
- 0.6 grams of fat
- 23.3 grams of carbohydrates, 1.5 grams of which comes from fiber and 19.1 of which comes from sugar
- 10 percent of the daily value (DV) for potassium
- 7 percent of the DV for magnesium
- 15 percent of the DV for vitamin C
- 8 percent of the DV for copper
- 9 percent of the DV for thiamin (vitamin B1)
- 6 percent of the DV for niacin (vitamin B3)
- 5 percent of the DV for vitamin B5
- 19 percent of the DV for vitamin B6
- 6 percent of the DV for folate (vitamin B9)
However, the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety Journal study, which compared all edible components of the jackfruit, disagrees with these values. That being said, jackfruit's nutrition is known to be highly variable based on freshness, whether the jackfruit is of the hard or soft variety and the ripeness of the fruit.
Based on the values from the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety Journal study, jackfruit's nutrition is technically not as beneficial as that of jackfruit seeds. This is because jackfruit seeds have more protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamin and riboflavin compared to jackfruit flesh.
However, jackfruit's nutrition contains more vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber compared to the seeds. Despite this, jackfruit's benefits are more varied; jackfruit seeds are mainly meant to support the health of the gut, gallbladder and liver.
The Starch in Jackfruit Seeds
Jackfruit seeds are more than 90 percent starch, a type of carbohydrate. While starch has a reputation for being fattening or similar to sugar, not all starches are the same. About 30 percent of the starch in jackfruit seeds is made up of resistant starch, which is much healthier than your average carbohydrate.
The Food and Drug Administration explains that there are two maim types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is a water-soluble fiber that is broken down when you eat foods that contain it. This type of fiber can help regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol.
Insoluble fiber isn't broken down, because it passes through your body intact. Insoluble fiber promotes digestion of foods as they move through your gastrointestinal tract. Both of these types of fiber are essential for good gut health.
Although soluble and insoluble fibers are important, there are other nutrients that can help support your gastrointestinal tract and overall health. Resistant starches are a less well-known type of fiber — specifically, a type of low-viscous fiber. This type of fiber can't be digested by the small intestine and is slowly processed as it moves along your gastrointestinal tract.
Resistant Starch and Jackfruit's Benefits
When you consume foods with resistant starches like the ones found in jackfruit seeds, the bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract can ferment these starches in your large intestine. When resistant starches are fermented, they produce short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids can help stimulate blood flow in your colon and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Although resistant starches are less well-known compared to soluble and insoluble fiber, all three of these carbohydrates act as prebiotics. This means that all three of these nutrients can also improve the health of your gut microbiome.
A healthy gut microbiome isn't just good for your stomach, intestines and colon; your gut is directly connected to your brain via a cranial nerve known as the vagus nerve. This means that consuming healthy foods like resistant starches can help improve the function of your immune system and prevent diseases that affect your central nervous system too.
- Frontiers in Neuroscience: "The Vagus Nerve at the Interface of the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis"
- Processing and Impact on Active Components in Food: "Processing and Utilization of Jackfruit Seeds"
- Today's Dietitian: "Resistant Starch — This Type of Fiber Can Improve Weight Control and Insulin Sensitivity"
- Food and Drug Administration: "Dietary Fiber"
- Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety Journal: "Jackfruit and Its Many Functional Components as Related to Human Health: A Review"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Jackfruit"
- Food Chemistry: "Chemical, Morphological and Functional Properties of Brazilian Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus L.) Seeds Starch"