Discover the 13 shocking health benefits of ackee fruit.
The ackee fruit is a member of the soapberry family. He is the close relative of Longan and Lychee.
The Ackee is native to Guyana and West Africa but is now grown primarily in Jamaica, where it is considered a national fruit.
When unripe, the ackee fruit looks like a watery pink apple fruit, the seams are still closed.
The Ackee tree is a beautiful tree, which is why it is widely used as an ornamental plant in Caribbean countries.
Only in Jamaica is it used as a staple food. Ackee trees only bear fruit 2 times a year. The tree is native to West Africa and was likely brought to the Caribbean on slave ships.
The outer meat is mixed with yellow and red. When ripe, the color turns bright red and the seams split open, exposing the cream-colored seeds and pulp.
Ackee fruit is considered safe to eat when ripe and the seams open naturally, but the unripe fruit is very poisonous. It weighs 100 to 200 grams.
Ackee fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. Ackee can be cooked like any other vegetable. It is often cooked in “Ackee and Saltfish,” a Jamaican dish consisting of Ackee and salted cod. When cooked with salted cod, the ackee fruit will taste the same as scrambled eggs.
Ackee Fruit Nutrition Facts
Ackee is a good source of fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Contrary to long-held popular beliefs, the fats contained in the ackee fruit are healthy.
There is no cholesterol or saturated fatty acids in the ackee fruit.
Here is the nutritional value of 100 grams of ackee pulp:
• Component Amount / 100 g% Daily Value
• Energy 151 Cal 7.55%.
• Carbohydrates 0.8 g 0.62%.
• Proteins 2.9 – 8.9 g 5.8 – 17.8%.
• Fat 15.2 g 25.33%.
• Total dietary fiber 2.7 g 10.8%.
• Zinc 1 mg 9.09%.
• Sodium 240 mg 16%.
• Potassium 270 mg 5.74%.
• Calcium 35 – 83 mg 3.5 – 8.3%.
• Iron 5 mg 27.77%.
• Phosphorus 98 mg 9.8%.
• Niacin (vit B3) 1.1 – 3.9 mg 6.8 – 19.5%.
• Thiamine (Vit B1) 0.03 mg 2.50%.
• Riboflavin (Vit B2) 0.07 mg 5.38%.
Also, the ackee fruit contains Folic Acid 40 ug Ascorbic Acid (Vit C) 30 mg 50%. Meanwhile, the Daily Value is based on the 2,000 calorie diet.
You may need more or fewer calories based on your age, gender, health, and your daily activities.
13 Health Benefits Of Ackee Fruit
The Jamaican people believe that the ackee fruit is both a blessing and a curse at the same time.
The ripe fruits are very nutritious and are used for traditional medicine and basic foods; while the immature ones, the overripe ones, together with all the outer pulp and the seeds are poisonous.
As mentioned above, the fruit is packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that can help many health problems.
It is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and organic components that make it a useful dietary tool for several health conditions. Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of ackee.
1.- Control hypertension
People who have hypertension should increase their potassium intake. The ackee fruit contains 270 mg of potassium (5.74% of the daily value), so it is good to add ackee fruit to your diet.
The high level of potassium in the blood dilates the blood vessels, making it easier for the heart to pump blood through the body.
When the heart does not need extra pressure to pump blood, the blood pressure will be lower.
Chronic hypertension is known to damage blood vessels. It is also one of the risk factors for atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
2.- Source of vegetable protein
Protein is necessary for the regeneration of cells in the body and for muscles to work, especially during workouts.
A high protein diet can help the weight loss program because protein is more difficult to digest, therefore the body needs to take energy from fatty tissues to digest protein.
This process makes us feel fuller for longer. For vegetarians, this is good news, as they can add their protein intake to delicious fruit.
3.- Promotes a healthy digestive system
The fiber content of the ackee fruit is abundant. These fibers help add the mass of the stool, helping us to go to the bathroom regularly, thus preventing constipation.
The fibers also induce peristaltic movement in the intestines, make food move, and prevent bloating, cramps, constipation, and other inflammations in the colon.
4.- Strengthens the bones
It contains a lot of calcium, phosphorus, and zinc which are necessary to prevent bone demineralization and bone loss. Daily intake of these essential minerals can prevent osteoporosis.
5.- Stimulates the immune system
The fruit contains vitamin C and zinc, which play an important role in our immune system. Vitamin C and zinc help our bodies fight colds and viruses.
This is the reason why South Americans and Africans use the ackee fruit to treat cold, flu, and fever.
Consuming ackee fruit during cold and flu will reduce the risk of additional complications, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
To treat fever in a child, he is bathed with a decoction of crushed ackee leaves in the water.
6.- Treatment of anemia
The Ackee fruit is high in iron and also contains folic acid, two substances necessary to produce healthy red blood cells.
The vitamin C contained in this fruit is a great advantage because vitamin C helps absorb iron in the intestines.
That is, when we consume ackee fruit, we consume iron, folic acid, and vitamin C at the same time. Sounds like a healthy combination.
7.- Promotes a healthy heart
The ackee fruit has a good effect on hypertension, but not only that, but the ackee fruit also contains unsaturated fatty acids.
The cells of our body need unsaturated fatty acids to function well. Unsaturated fatty acids also lower the cholesterol level, thus protecting us from atherosclerosis.
As we already know, atherosclerosis can lead to various problems such as heart attacks, coronary heart disease, and strokes.
8.- Prevents muscle cramps
Muscle cramps can be caused by electrolyte imbalance and dehydration, especially after workouts or on hot days.
The sodium and potassium contained in the ackee fruit play an important role in electrolyte balance.
Also, sodium is necessary for muscle contraction, while potassium is necessary for muscle relaxation.
Consuming ackee fruit can help restore electrolyte balance, but we should also drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
9.- Controls the level of sugar in the blood
The Ackee fruit is rich in complex carbohydrates, which are necessary for energy production and help normalize our blood sugar level.
The Ackee fruit is also high in fiber. Fiber helps reduce the absorption of sugar in our intestines, thus maintaining a normal blood sugar level.
10.- Treatment of skin infections
Africans use ackee leaves to treat ulcers, abscesses, and yaws. The leaves are crushed and mixed with salt, then the mixture is placed on the affected area.
To get rid of the cutaneous migratory larvae, a shower or bath is taken with a decoction of ackee leaves and bark.
11.- Treatment of Edema
The crushed leaves and bark are placed on the skin of the edematous area. This traditional medicine works best for intercostal edema.
In Brazil, a small dose of aqueous extract of ackee seeds is administered to eliminate intestinal parasites.
It should be given every day for at least 3 days. To treat head lice, the outer flesh of the fruit is burned and the ash is used to wash the hair.
13.- Treatment of poisonous bites
In Africa, the crushed bark is used as an antidote against snake bites, stings, and scorpions, while the crushed leaves are placed on the bitten area to prevent abscesses.
How to consume this exotic fruit
The fresh pulp of fully ripe fruits can be eaten fresh or cooked. The fresh pulp has a nutty flavor, and the cooked one has the texture of scrambled eggs.
The best way to cook the pulp is to boil it in salty water or milk and then lightly fry it in butter, just like scrambled eggs.
After cooking, the pulp can also be added to curries, meat stews, and other dishes.
Even with canned pulp, precooking is essential, since we do not know of any process that has occurred with the pulps.
Ackee Fruit Caution
Ripe fruits are very poisonous. Since 1970, the US has banned all imports of most ackee products.
Now the US has recently started allowing the importation of canned ripe ackee in limited quantities.
Never force an immature ackee to split open with sharp objects, as the fruit will naturally pop open when ripe and ready to eat.
Also, pay attention to the skin color of the outer pulp; those that are fully ripe have a bright red color. Never eat the outer meat as it is very poisonous.
Symptoms of poisoning can range from vomiting, body seizures, and death.
It is probably still difficult to find fresh ackee fruits outside of the Caribbean and West African countries. So the most we can get is canned pulp.
If we travel to Jamaica, we should try to consume fresh fruits. Be careful with seeds, immature and overripe fruits, as they are very poisonous.
If we can find the right fruit, consuming ackee fruit gives many health benefits of ackee fruit in our body.