Jackfruit is a nutritious tropical fruit that can offer several vitamins and minerals. Besides, it can be used to make tasty snacks, such as pumpkin bread that can fight hunger pangs. But is it safe to eat jackfruit during pregnancy? Most gynecologists advise pregnant women to eat almost all fruits, including jackfruit, in moderate amounts when pregnant.
Yet, several mothers hesitate to include this nutritious fruit in their pregnancy diet due to several myths surrounding jackfruit’s safety for pregnant women. Keep reading as we tell you more about the safety of jackfruit for expecting mothers, its health benefits, possible side effects, and ways you can safely consume jackfruit during pregnancy.
Is It Safe To Eat Jackfruit During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to eat jackfruit during pregnancy as long as you consume it in moderate quantities. The fruit is rich in vitamin B6 and other nutrients, including potassium. It contains easily digestible flesh called bulbs, a rich source of antioxidants and an important part of pregnancy nutrition.
Trista Best, a registered dietician at Whitfield County Health Department in Georgia, says, “Jackfruit may produce more than normal heat in the body, and it may be harmful for the fetus.” Therefore, do not overeat the fruit.
Is Jackfruit Safe During Early Pregnancy?
Yes, you can have jackfruit during early pregnancy, but moderately.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Jackfruit During Pregnancy?
The significant benefits of jackfruit in pregnancy are as follows:
2. Dietary fiber
Constipation is common during pregnancy. Jackfruit contains high dietary fiber which helps relieve digestion and reduce constipation (2). It also enables you to meet the recommended daily allowance of fiber.
Lark Begin, a nutrition specialist in Toronto, adds, “High fiber content of jackfruit can also help keep the uterus healthy and functioning.”
An excellent source of potassium, this fruit helps lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiac diseases and helping maintain proper maternal health (3).
Excellent levels of folate and iron in this fruit help in normalizing the hemoglobiniXA protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues of the body levels and prevent anemiaiXA condition where the body lacks red blood cells for oxygen transport to body tissues (2).
The magnesium content in the fruit promotes bone health in both the mother and the fetus. It improves bone strength and lowers the risk of osteoporosisiXA condition in which where bones weaken and become brittle due to aging and lack of calcium in the diet, leading to a higher risk of fractures (4).
7. Natural sugars
Jackfruit has natural sugars (fructose and sucrose) that boost your energy and might help satiate your pregnancy cravings (1).
8. Aids fetal development
Vitamin A also plays a vital role in the development of fetal eyesight and cells .
Kelsey Moore, a registered dietitian based in Vancouver, Canada, says, “In westernized foods, jackfruit is often used in plant-based meals to replace the protein portion of the meal, however, it is not considered a good source of protein. Adequate protein for the mother is vital for the growth and development of an unborn baby, so ensure you are consuming a source of protein at every meal.”
Read on to learn about the nutritional values of this fruit.
How Do Jackfruit Seeds Benefit During Pregnancy?
While the pulp is packed with nutrition, jackfruit seeds also contain essential nutrients. The seeds have good nutritional value, containing notable nutrients such as vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus (5). Furthermore, the seeds have prebiotics that aid in maintaining intestinal microbial balance (6).
Jackfruit seeds can be eaten boiled like peanuts and chestnuts or ground and blended with wheat flour to produce baking flour. You can also make a spread out of it by mashing up cooked jackfruit seeds and mixing them with chili, onion, garlic, and grated coconut. You may also add a dash of lemon juice and salt for added taste.
Nutritional Facts Of Jackfruit
100g of raw jackfruit contains (7):
|RiboflaviniXVitamin B2 essential for healthy skin, eyes, and nervous system
|PyridoxineiXA form of vitamin B6, essential for the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids in the body
|ThiaminiXVitamin that helps the body convert food into energy and supports nerve function, also known as vitamin B1
|ElectrolytesiXMinerals in the body, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, that help regulate fluid balance and muscle function
g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms
While eating a reasonable amount of jackfruit is good for you, overindulging in this nutrient-dense food might be bad.
Possible Side Effects Of Eating Jackfruit During Pregnancy
There are some potential risks of eating jackfruit when you are pregnant.
1. Can cause allergies
If you have never eaten jackfruit, pregnancy is not the time to experiment with it because you do not know if you are allergic to it (8)..
“Because the expecting mother’s immune system is suppressed during pregnancy, it is possible to experience new allergies or sensitivities. An expectant mom with a known latex allergy needs to avoid jackfruit because there is a link between these two allergies,” adds Trista Best.
2. Leads to tummy upset
Overconsumption of jackfruit can lead to indigestion and diarrhea since it has high fiber content.
3. Coagulates blood
If you have any blood disorders, then avoid it during pregnancy as it can increase blood coagulation.
4. Raises blood sugar levels
Abundant in natural sugars, jackfruit can easily affect blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is not right to take if you are having gestational diabetes.
Does Jackfruit Cause A Miscarriage?
Jackfruit is not likely to cause a miscarriage unless taken in excess amounts. There is no scientific backing for this.
Excess consumption of the fruit may be bad, but there are not many serious risks of eating jackfruit when you are pregnant, which makes it safe. Next, we learn about selecting the right fruit that is healthy for you and the baby.
How To Select And Store Jackfruit?
- If you want a raw fruit, select the ones that are green and hard with hard, thorny projections and with the skin intact.
- If you like ripe fruit, select fresh, yellowish and heavy fruits with soft thorny projections.
- Avoid lightweight and infected fruits that can be identified with their spots, wrinkles or bruises.
Once you have the perfect fruit, you can consume it in different ways: either eat the ripened fruit or make a dish of your choice with the raw fruit.
Ways to Consume Jackfruit During Pregnancy
Before you eat the fruit, you should master the technique of cutting it open.
Jackfruit gives out a sticky sap; therefore you should oil your hands, the work surface or cutting board and the blade of the knife with which you are cutting the fruit. Once you slice it in half, remove the yellow fruit pods along the skin and core. Remove the seeds, and you will have the sweet-tasting flesh that you can eat.
- Jackfruit’s flesh can be consumed plain when sweet. It can be chopped and added to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, or even sprinkled over ice-cream.
- Raw/ unripe fruit tastes great in savory dishes such as wraps, salads, tacos, and carnitas.
- Raw fruit can be incorporated into soups or curries as well.
- You can also make jackfruit chips, which make a great snack during pregnancy.
- Jackfruit seeds are also edible. You can boil or roast them, and mix with seasonings, or use them to prepare hummus.
Next, we have a few pregnancy-friendly jackfruit recipes you can try:
1. Jackfruit curry
You will need:
- ½ raw jackfruit (tender variety)
- 1 onion
- ¼tsp turmeric
- Salt as required
- 3tbsp coconut grate
- 1 ½tbsp coriander seeds
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 red chilies
- 1tsp pepper
- Oil as required
- 1tsp mustard seeds
- 1tsp urad dal
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- Take the flesh without seeds and cut it into small pieces.
- Soak them in a bowl of rice water (water drained after washing rice) or buttermilk for about 10 to 15min. Take them out and squeeze the water.
- Boil some water with salt and turmeric, and add the jackfruit pieces. Cook them until they turn soft.
- Now blend coconut, coriander seeds, garlic cloves, cumin seeds, red chilies and pepper along with some water to make a paste.
- Heat some oil in a wok, and add mustard seeds, urad dal (black gram), curry leaves and onions. Fry them until the onions turn soft.
- Now add the paste and cooked jackfruit. Fry everything on a medium flame, and sprinkle some salt.
- Keep stirring at regular intervals, and the curry will be ready in 15 minutes.
- You can have it hot with chapatis, rice or a salad.
Preparation time: 1hr 5min
2. Jackfruit chips
You will need:
- Raw jackfruit (1 whole fruit or half)
- 1/2tsp turmeric
- 3tbsp water
- Salt as required
- Vegetable oil, enough for deep frying
- Combine turmeric, salt, and water in a bowl and mix well.
- Slice the fruit lengthwise and transfer to a bowl.
- Spread them on a clean cloth until the moisture evaporates.
- Add enough oil in a wok and heat it.
- Add the jackfruit and fry them until they turn golden brown.
- Drain the excess oil, and add some salt and red chili powder.
- Toss them well and store in an airtight container.
- Serve as crispy snacks or as a side dish to the main course.
Preparation time: 10min
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can jackfruit help with anemia during pregnancy?
Jackfruit may help with anemia as it is a rich source of iron and aids in proper blood circulation (10). However, anemia can be completely cured by doctor-prescribed supplements.
2. Can jackfruit help with weight gain during pregnancy?
Consuming jackfruit may not aid in weight gain during pregnancy. The reason is its high fiber content, low glycemic index, and low-fat content (11).
3. Can jackfruit help with hair health during pregnancy?
Jackfruit, due to its vitamin A content, may aid hair health during pregnancy. Even jackfruit seeds have proven beneficial in promoting hair growth (12).
4. Can jackfruit help with vision health during pregnancy?
Eating jackfruit during pregnancy could potentially enhance visual acuity since this fruit contains modest amounts of vitamin A and flavonoid pigments known to be good for the eyes (13).
Moderate intake of raw or ripe jackfruit is not harmful to pregnant women. Jackfruit during pregnancy is an excellent way to receive vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, and natural sugars. However, excess consumption can interfere with digestion and upset the stomach. The sweet flesh can be eaten directly or added to smoothies or breakfast dishes. The raw fruit can be prepared as a curry or cooked and added to soups, salads, and wraps. It is better to take only small quantities if you have gestational diabetes.
Infographic: Jackfruit Recipes To Try During Pregnancy
After knowing the benefits of consuming jackfruit during pregnancy, we are sure you must be eager to include it in your diet. But are you confused about how you can do so? Read on to find a few pregnancy-friendly and easy-to-make jackfruit recipes you can save to prepare any time.
- Consuming jackfruit in moderation during pregnancy is safe.
- Jackfruit contains essential nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and iron.
- Eating jackfruit can help boost energy levels and aid in regulating digestion.
- Jackfruit is high in natural sugars and can readily affect blood sugar levels.
- It is not recommended to consume jackfruit if you have gestational diabetes.
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- 10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Jackfruit You Need To Know.
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- Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
- Traditional foods of Indian origin in pregnancy
- Jackfruit raw.
- S. T. H. P. Bolhaar et al.; (2004); Allergy to jackfruit: a novel example of Bet v 1-related food allergy.
- R. A. S. N. Ranasinghe et al.; (2019); Nutritional and Health Benefits of Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.): A Review.
- Jackfruit: What It Is and Why It’s Healthy.
- Arora Tejpal and Parle Amrita; (2016); Jackfruit- A health Boon.
- C. Mondal et al.;(2013); Product Development from Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) and Analysis of Nutritional Quality of the Processed Products.