Ackee fruit or Blighia sapida is a close relative of lychee and longan. The fruit is native to West Africa and Guyana. The fruit looks like a rose apple fruit when it is unripe. The flesh outside is yellow and red in color. When it gets ripen, the color turns to bright red. The ackee fruit is known to be safe for consuming when it is ripe; however unripe ackee fruit is very poisonous. Generally the fruit can be eaten raw; however it can also be cooked and consumed. The fruit when cooked with salted cod, it tastes like a scrambled egg. This fruit is known to be quite healthy. In this article we will know about some of the health benefits of ackee fruit.
Nutritional Profile Of Ackee Fruit:
Ackee fruit is a great source of protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. These fruits contain healthy fats and they do not have saturated fatty acids or cholesterol. A serving of 100 grams of the fruit pulp contains 151 cal of energy, 0.8 grams of carbohydrates, 15.2 grams of fats, 2.9 grams to 8.9 grams of protein, 2.7 grams of Total dietary fiber, 1 milligram of zinc, 240 milligram of Sodium, 270 milligram of potassium, 35 milligram to 83 milligram of Calcium, 5 milligram of iron, 98 milligram of phosphorous. It also contains 30 mg of Ascorbic acid and 40 mg of Folic acid.
12 Health Benefits Of Ackee Fruit:
The ripe ackee fruit is known to be very nutritious and is very much beneficial to human health. Let us check some of the health benefits of the fruit.
Benefits of Ackee Fruit in Controlling Blood Pressure:
Ackee fruit is known to control blood pressure. It is recommended for all those people who are suffering from high blood pressure, to increase their potassium intake. Ackee fruit, being loaded with potassium, can be added to your regular diet if you suffer from high blood pressure. High content of potassium acts as a vasodilator, reducing the strain and also the work that our cardiovascular system should do for pumping blood via the body, and thus lowering the chances of atherosclerosis and also the damage to your blood vessels and arteries.(1)
Digestive Health Benefits of Ackee Fruit:
Ackee fruit is beneficial for your digestive health. It promotes the health of digestive system. The fruit contains a lot of fibers and these fibers add the mass to the stool and thus help in preventing constipation. Moreover, fibers even helps in inducing the peristaltic motion in our intestines, making the foods move along and also preventing cramping, bloating, and several other inflammations of the colon. Similarly dietary fiber aids in lowering the cholesterol and also enhancing the heart health.(2)
Ackee Fruit Is A Source Of Vegetable Protein:
Protein is known to be one of the prime ingredients of a healthy diet and it is required for the regeneration of our body cells and also helps in proper working of our muscles, especially during workouts. A diet that is rich in proteins can assist you in losing weight as proteins are more difficult to get digested, and thus our body requires taking energy from fat tissues for digesting proteins. This entire process would make you feel full for a long time. You can get enough of protein from the ackee fruit.
Ackee Fruit is Beneficial In Controlling Hypertension:
Ackee fruit can aid in controlling hypertension. It is beneficial for people suffering from hypertension to increase their intake of potassium. Ackee fruit, being rich is potassium, is good to be added in regular diet. High level of potassium in the blood dilates the blood vessels, and thus makes it easier for your heart to pump blood easily through the body. When our heart does not require any extra pressure for pumping of the blood, the arterial blood pressure will get lowered.
Improves Bone Health:
Ackee fruit is also known to benefit bone health. Because of the rich content of calcium, zinc and phosphorus in ackee fruit, it helps in avoiding bone demineralization and also bone loss. Daily intake of calcium, zinc and phosphorus can also slower, stop or even reverse the condition of osteoporosis, as we age; and thus make us leave stronger for a long time. (3)
Benefits of Ackee Fruit in Enhancing the Function of Immune System:
Ackee fruit can be beneficial in enhancing the function of our immune system. The presence of zinc and vitamin C in the fruit play a crucial role in the body’s immune system. Vitamin c along with zinc helps our body to fight against viruses and cold. Moreover, ackee fruit is also loaded with ascorbic acid, and this helps in enhancing the immune system by increasing the number of WBCs, and also by avoiding several chronic diseases as well as cellular mutation. Moreover, the vitamin c is an important part of collagen, which is required for the body to make its muscles, tissues, as well as blood vessels.(4)
It Promotes the Heart Health:
Ackee Fruit promotes heart health. We already talked that the fruit has positive effect for hypertension; however, this is not all. Ackee fruit has unsaturated fatty acids in it and these fatty acids are required by the cells of our body for proper functioning. Unsaturated fatty acid even lowers the level of cholesterol and thus prevents us from atherosclerosis which can also prevent heart strokes, heart attacks, as well as the coronary heart diseases.(5)
It Benefits In Treating Anemia:
Ackee fruit is known to benefit asthma patients. The high content of iron and folic acid, the crucial two substances required for producing healthy RBCs; make it essential for treating anemia. Moreover the presence of vitamin C in the ackee fruit also works as a big bonus in this, as the vitamin helps in the absorption of iron in your intestines. This means that consuming the fruit, you consume folic acid, iron, and also vitamin C that is required for the treatment of anemia.
Benefits of Ackee Fruit in Preventing Muscle Cramps:
An imbalance in the electrolyte and dehydration causes muscle cramp, especially in hot days or after workouts. The presence of sodium as well as potassium in the ackee fruit plays a crucial role in the electrolyte balance. Apart from this, the sodium is required for contraction of muscle, while for relaxation of muscle potassium is required. So, consuming the ackee fruit can aid in restoring any electrolyte balance. However, you also need to drink plenty of water for preventing dehydration.
It Controls Diabetes:
Ackee fruit can also benefit in controlling diabetes. It helps in defending Type 2 diabetes. This is because the fruit is packed with complex energy-producing carbohydrates, which assists in normalizing the levels of sugar in your body. High fiber which in present in the fruit is one of the best ways to control glucose as well as the insulin levels in your blood.(6)
Skin Health Benefits Of Ackee Fruit:
Let us take a look on some of the skin health benefits of ackee fruit.
It Treats Skin Infections: People from Africa make use of the ackee leaves for treating various skin ulcers, yaws and abscess. These leaves are pounded and then mixed with salt and this mixture is then applied on the affected area of the skin. You can also take a bath with decoction of ackee leaves and the bark so as to get rid of the cutaneous larva migrans.
It Benefits In Treating Edema: Ackee fruits and the leaves are also known to treat intercostals edema. This is in fact used widely in traditional medicines.
Hair Health Benefits Of Ackee Fruit: There are also some fair hair health benefits of the ackee fruit. You can treat head lice by burning the outer flesh of the ackee fruit and using the ash to wash your hair.
It Benefits In Treating Venomous Bite:
One of the most important health benefits of ackee fruit is that it benefits in treating venomous bite. In Africa, the pounded bark of ackee plant is used as an antidote to stings, snake and scorpion bites; and the pounded ackee leaves are used to apply on the bitten area for preventing abscess.
How To Consume The Ackee Fruit?
You can consume the fresh pulp from the ripe ackee fruit or can cook it to consume. The fresh pulp is known to have nutty flavor and the cooked ackee fruit has a texture of scrambled eggs.
You can cook the pulp of ackee by parboiling it in salt water or in milk and they lightly fry it in butter, as in case of scrambled eggs. You can also add the pulp to meat stew, curry and several other dishes, after parboiling.
So, we are aware of some of the best health benefits of ackee fruit. You can add this to your diet to see improvements in various ill health conditions.
CAUTION: Never consume the outer flesh of ackee fruit as it is very poisonous and you can experience symptoms like convulsion of the body, vomiting, and even death. You must also pay full attention on checking the seeds, unripe or over-ripped ackee fruits are extremely poisonous.