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Why You Should Add Jackfruit to Your Diet

With more studies revealing the health risks and detrimental environmental impact of a meat-centric lifestyle, many people are choosing to transition to a plant-based diet. Even if you’re taking small steps at first, such as a “Meatless Monday,” you probably don’t want to sacrifice the taste of your favorite foods, and you definitely want to make sure that you get the proper nutrients. 

This is where jackfruit comes in. The exotic fruit is native to Southern India, and has grown in popularity as many vegans and vegetarians use it as a meat substitute. Instead of buying more expensive and more heavily processed meat alternatives like the recently popular Beyond Meat and Impossible burgers, you can substitute for a raw fruit without compromising taste. The fruit, known for its fibrous texture similar to that of meat, is used in a variety of dishes, and can take on the flavor of its seasonings and sauces. 

The sweet fruit has a distinctive flavor, described by some as a cross between a banana and pineapple, and similar to “juicy fruit” gum. 

Jackfruit has a low glycemic index and provides fiber and antioxidants that promote better blood sugar control. The antioxidants in jackfruit, such as Vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavanones, protect your cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. The phytochemicals in jackfruit may help counter the effect of free radicals, per the American Institute for Cancer Research. These free radicals are highly reactive molecules that occur naturally in the body and can damage cells, leading to chronic diseases and cancer.

According to Medical News Today, animal studies suggest that jackfruit seeds may work to lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol and increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) “good” cholesterol. 

Jackfruit beats most other fruit in terms of its protein content. It provides more than 3 grams of protein per cup, compared to 0 to 1 grams in other similar fruits. One cup of raw, sliced jackfruit also contains 157 calories, 2.84 grams of protein, 1.06 grams of fat, 38.36 grams of carbohydrates, 729 mg of potassium, 22.6 mg of vitamin C, and 2.5 grams of dietary fiber. 

Simply googling “jackfruit recipes” will give you more options than you can sort through. I recommend Minimalist Baker's easy spicy jackfruit taco recipe to get started. 

As jackfruit becomes more mainstream and finds its way to restaurant menus across the country, the product is available at a wider variety of grocery stores. Many specialty supermarkets and Asian food stores sell jackfruit fresh, canned or frozen. Canned jackfruit, available at retailers such as Trader Joes, may contain syrup or brine. For people who want to try out jackfruit, but who don’t have the time to cook, stores including Whole Foods Market sell pre-cut and seasoned jackfruit, if you’re willing to pay the extra for it.


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Blue Apron makes incredible home cooking accessible to everyone by providing access to well-balanced meals without the stress of meal planning. Blue Apron delivers recipes and high-quality ingredients to your door. They’re shipped in refrigerated boxes with each ingredient perfectly measured and ready for cooking for two, three, or four meals (depending on the plan). Blue Apron is a weekly subscription service with no commitment - you can skip a week or cancel at anytime with a week's notice, and delivery is always free. Available in most of the country. For more information, click here.


Green Chef

Green Chef is the certified organic home-delivered recipe option. From wild-caught salmon to GMO-free soybeans, Green Chef ingredients are fresh and sustainably sourced—no synthetic pesticides, no genetically modified organisms, no artificial ingredients, no growth hormones or antibiotics. It offers eco-friendly packaging, insulated, refrigerated boxes and flexible delivery days. Skip weeks when you want to. For more information, click here.


Plated.com

This is a variation on the Blue Apron theme—delicious, nutritious meals delivered to your door, ready to prepare. It costs a bit more but some report that it offers better variety and packaging but that it is not quite as detailed in the instructions it provides. Like Blue Apron, ingredients include peak-season produce, meats raised without antibiotics and artisanal specialty items. For more information, click here.


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MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a mobile app and website with a wide range of tools for tracking what and how much you eat, and how many calories you burn through activity. Rated one of the 25 Best Fitness Apps of 2016, MyFitnessPal is easy to manage, and it comes with the largest database of foods and drinks.