- Breadfruit Definition
- Breadfruit Scientific Name
- Description of Breadfruit Tree
- Breadfruit Pictures
- Where Does Breadfruit Grow?
- Is Breadfruit A Fruit?
- Where Did Breadfruit Originate From?
- What Does Breadfruit Look Like?
- Breadfruit Nutrition Information
- Breadfruit Benefits
- Breadfruit Habitat
- Breadfruit Glycemic Index
- Breadfruit Calories
- Breadfruit Uses
- Breadfruit and Diabetes
- Breadfruit and Diseases
- Breadfruit Recipes
- Is Breadfruit Good For You?
It looks like a fruit but tastes sweet as bread. Breadfruits are unlike any other fruit but highly sought after. Read on to know all about the history of Breadfruit and its uses and health benefits.
Breadfruit is a member of genus Mulberry. It is one of the most staple foods in people belonging to tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean.
The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Breadfruit’ as “the large round starchy fruit of a tropical tree, which is used as a vegetable and sometimes to make a substitute for flour.” A Breadfruit tree is defined as “the large evergreen tree which bears breadfruit, which is widely cultivated on the islands of the Pacific and the Caribbean.”
Breadfruit Scientific Name
In scientific terms, Breadfruit is known as Artocarpus Altilis.
Description of Breadfruit Tree
Breadfruit trees are Monoecious, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. Both male and female flowers grow on these trees. The male flowers arise first on the Breadfruit trees, followed by female ones.
A single tree yields about 200 Breadfruits per season. This makes Breadfruit trees one of the largest-yielding food plants. The yield is typically higher in South India where each tree produces 150-200 Breadfruits annually. In the Caribbean, the yield is much lower – about 25 on an average. A single tree of this type in the South Pacific region produces around 50-150 Breadfruits.
Curious about the appearance of Breadfruits? Here are some Breadfruit images that you will find useful. Check out these enticing Breadfruit photos and get a glimpse of these fruits.
Where Does Breadfruit Grow?
Breadfruit trees can be found in regions like Micronesia, Hawaii, Caribbean, Western Pacific islands and Malay Peninsula. South-east Asian Breadfruit tree has dark-green foliage with leaves growing about 3 feet long.
Is Breadfruit A Fruit?
Breadfruit is of course a fruit though it is used more like a vegetable. It is a staple food in many areas such as the tropical countries. When cooked, it reportedly tastes just like potato. Many describe the taste to be similar to fresh-baked bread which hints at the choice of the name ‘Breadfruit’.
Where Did Breadfruit Originate From?
Breadfruit origin can be traced back to about 3,500 years ago. This was the time when Breadfruits are said to have been originally spotted by ancestors of Polynesians. The found these in the northwestern area of New Guinea. The taste and nutritional value probably attracted them to the fruit. The fact that each tree produces a large number of Breadfruits obviously made it more favorable. Possibly they also found it easier to grow which helps explain their sudden intention to give up rice cultivation and take up Breadfruit farming instead. They planted Breadfruit trees along the Pacific.
Along the same time, Inhabitants of Eastern Indonesia also began Breadfruit cultivation along the Northern, Western and Coastal regions of southeastern Asia. The warm climate helped in the survival and growth of Breadfruit trees.
The late 18th century marked an important chapter in the history of Breadfruits. In 1769, Captain James Cook commanded the famous Endeavour expedition. During this expedition, the team was once stationed in Tahiti when several members like Sir Joseph Banks ‘discovered’ this fruit and found it to be of great nutritional value and a resource of high energy. This was a momentous event in Breadfruit history for the Western civilization. The white colonialists saw this fruit as the perfect food that would provide more energy to Imperial slaves and make them able to work more. Sensing a golden opportunity, British plantation owners and administrators started attempts in introducing Breadfruit plants into the Carribean.
A few years later, after a failed attempt, many Breadfruit plants were collected under Banks’ instructions, implanted in pots and transported to areas like St. Vincent, Jamaica and St Helena. The slaves eventually rejected these fruits but the trees that were planted in these regions began to grow and multiply.
What Does Breadfruit Look Like?
People belonging to eastern countries and even in Western nations like USA are unfamiliar with the physical appearance of Breadfruit. But in many tropical regions it is used as a staple food. The fruit is spherical in shape and is about as large as a melon. Its external surface is generally rough and covered with tubercles. Some varieties of Breadfruit have a smooth surface minus any external nodules or bumps.
Breadfruits are available in different colors, flavors and sizes. There are more than 200 types of Breadfruits. Both seeded and seedless varieties of Breadfruits can be found for cultivation.
When fully grown, Breadfruit trees attain a majestic height. These have very large, glossy leaves and can grow as big as 26 metres (85 feet). Breadfruits grow in clusters of two or three at the tips of the branches of these trees.
Breadfruit Nutrition Information
Rom the nutritional point of view, Breadfruits are highly productive. These are rich sources of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Potassium. On consumption of Breadfruit nutrients, vital for metabolic functions, are supplied to the body. Here is a breakup of the composition of Breadfruit.
Minerals (Per 100 gm)
- Copper - 0.13 mg
- Manganese – 0.11 mg
- Phosphorus – 30 mg
- Calcium – 17.1 mg
- Magnesium – 25 mg
- Zinc – 0.1 mg
- Sodium - 2.0 mg
- Potassium – 490.3 mg
- Iron – 0.5 mg
Vitamins (Per 100 gm)
- Pantothenic Acid – 0.5 mg
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 0.2 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.1 mg
- Vitamin C – 29.1 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.1 mg
- Choline - 9.81 mg
- Niacin – 0.9 mg
431 kJ (103 kcal)
The nutritional value of Breadfruit is undeniable. Know about some of the major Breadfruit health benefits.
Provides High Energy
Breadfruit is a rich source of carbohydrate and provides high energy to all those who eat it. It supplies the warmth and vitality needed to be active.
Cleans The Intestine
The fiber present in Breadfruit flushes out toxins from the intestine and helps in proper functioning of the bowels and intestines.
Rich Source of Flour
When dried, Breadfruit yields a type of rich flour. Breadfruit flour is much more productive than wheat flour and different types of important amino acids.
Breadfruit is a rich source of fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 which are vital for the proper development of the mind and body. These enhance power and promote growth of hair. These fatty acids also regulate metabolic functions, promote reproduction, enhance skin color and accelerate bone health.
Breadfruit is suited to a tropical environment and needs a temperature range of 60-100 degree Fahrenheit to survive. It can last in surroundings that have a relative humidity of about 80% and experience a yearly rainfall of 203-254 cm. It requires deep, well-drained and fertile soil to grow. Experts say that it develops well in freshwater swamps, sandy coral soils and flooded pains.
Breadfruits usually grow best in low-lying equatorial regions that are elevated only 650 meters above sea level. However, it may also be found in regions that are elevated more than 1,500 meters. Breadfruit trees are not impacted by brackish water and can originate in sandy, saline or loamy soil.
Breadfruit Glycemic Index
Glycemic Index of a carbohydrate-rich food is a numerical index based on the average rise in blood glucose levels after consumption of the food. The Glycemic Index for an average Breadfruit is 68 which is medium level.
A raw, under ripe Breadfruit contains 105-109 calories. However, Breadfruit flour contains about 331 calories. Breadfruit consumption supplies a high amount of useful calories to the human body which is one major reason for its popularity. One serving of Breadfruit equals to about 3.4 ounces which indicates a total of about 99 calories in its edible portion and around 413 joules of energy. But it is best not to have this fruit at night to avoid the calories depositing into the body tissues.
Fitness conscious people can burn Breadfruit calories with 11 minutes of constant running.
Breadfruits are used for a lot of purposes. The fruit as well as the leaves and latex of its tree work as a natural medicine for curing diseases like skin infections, Diarrhea, Asthma, Diabetes and Sciatica. It can be consumed as a fruit and also cooked as a vegetable. The seeds of Breadfruit can also be used for consumption. The leaves of Breadfruit grow over one foot long and so they can be used to provide shade. Breadfruit leaves are used in African regions for decoration purposes.
Breadfruit and Diabetes
Breadfruit intake is believed to help people suffering from diabetes. The fiber present in Breadfruit reduces absorption of glucose from the consumption of the food people eat. Studies indicate that African Breadfruit consumption may reduce blood sugar level in people.
Breadfruit and Diseases
For people eating breadfruit diseases can show a marked improvement. Apart from diabetes, Breadfruit intake has also been found to control a number of other disorders in humans.
Prevents Heart Attacks
Breadfruit intake reduces harmful cholesterol or LDL in the body and increases HDL cholesterol that is beneficial for health.
Reduces Colon Cancer Risks
Regular consumption of Breadfruit helps lower the risk of developing colon cancer.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Regular Breadfruit intake is also supposed to reduce blood pressure and avoid serious health complications.
Eating Breadfruit is also believed to lower asthmatic symptoms in sufferers.
Cures Tooth Ache
Rubbing toasted Breadfruit flowers on gums have also been found to yield effective results in treating tooth ache.
Applying crushed leaves of Breadfruit on tongue has been found to cure thrush.
Cures Ear Problems
Minor problems in the ear can be cured by using the juice of Breadfruit leaf as ear drops.
Treats Skin Infections
Ashes of Breadfruit leaves have been found to be a natural remedy for curing skin infections.
Reduces Enlargement of Spleen
Crushed, roasted Breadfruit leaves are also a good cure for an enlarged spleen.
Cures Skin Diseases
In some tropical areas, the latex of Breadfruit trees is applied on external body surfaces affected by skin disease.
Tying the latex of Breadfruit plants on the spine with a bandage can be a natural remedy for problems like Sciatica.
Consuming Breadfruit latex can help treat diarrheic symptoms in sufferers.
Breadfruit is a fruit that can be eaten in many ways. It can be roasted, creamed, candied, sautéed, mashed, boiled or even fried for consumption.
When thinly sliced and fried, Breadfruit can make for a great snack. It needs to be salted and spiced the right way for a zesty flavor. Breadfruits can also be candied to make snacks. One can also use these to make Breadfruit curry.
Boiled and sliced Breadfruits can make good chips. Breadfruit chips need to be served with assortments like onions, tomatoes and sautéed saltfish. Add herbs for flavor and you get Breadfruit chips that are simply irresistible. Inhabitants of East Carribean Islands love to enjoy Breadfruit chips along with meat dishes like pork or chicken.
Dried Breadfruit slices yield a kind of flour that can be used to make puddings, biscuits and breads. This can also be used to make Breadfruit cakes.
Various types of Breadfruit drinks are also prepared. These tasty beverages are highly popular in countries like Jamaica. In islands like St. Vincent, Breadfruit drinks are part of the local cultural festivals.
Is Breadfruit Good For You?
It goes without saying that Breadfruits are very good for your health. Breadfruits as well as the leaves and latex of the plant can be used for different purposes. Consuming Breadfruits can be very beneficial for your body. The only drawback is, these are very rich sources of sugars and carbohydrates and can give you a large waistline. So it is best to avoid these during supper when the body gets least chance to burn up glucose. You can safely have them during breakfast or any time during the day. Enjoy your Breadfruit!