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Ackee is a perennial evergreen tree growing up to 10–12 m
and thrives well in full sun or partial shade and prefers deep,
fertile loamy soils with abundant moisture, but makes satisfactory
growth on shallow sandy soils or calcareous soils.
Ackee is a colorful and delicious fruit that is a popular addition
to numerous exotic dishes and has become a backbone in Caribbean
cuisine, because of its flavor and its beneficial health properties.
It is pear shape and is green in color which turns into yellow-orange
when completely ripe. When ripe it splits open to reveal three large,
shiny black seeds, each partly enclosed by soft, creamy or spongy,
white to yellow flesh. The yellow edible fruit is known as the aril.
The base of each aril is attached to the inside of the stem-end
of the “jacket” by pink or orange-red membranes. The
fruit of the Ackee is not edible. It is only the fleshy arils around
the seeds that are edible. The remainder of the fruit, including
the seeds is poisonous. The fruit should be picked after the fruit
has opened naturally, and must be fresh and not overripe. Immature
and overripe ackee is also poisonous! Arilli are tender and are
normally added to the dish last, and cooked through when the cream
colored ackee turns yellow. Fruit has tastes like scrambled eggs
and is delicate flavor. This fruit is used in many dishes and cuisines
and is the national fruit of Jamaica.
Ackee is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming
100 gram of Ackee offers:
- 15.2 g of Total Fat
- 30 mg of Vitamin C
- 240 mg of Sodium
- 1 mg of Zinc
- 0.7 mg of IroN
- 2.7 g of Total dietary Fiber
- 1.1 mg of Vitamin B3
- 2.9 g of Protein.
Health benefits of Ackee
Ackee is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and organic components
that make it a useful dietary tool for a number of health conditions.
1. Blood Pressure
It is recommended to increase the intake of potassium for those
who are suffering from high blood pressure. Therefore it is best
to include Ackee in your normal diet to increase your potassium
content since it consists of 270 mg of potassium which is 5.74%
of the daily recommended value.
2. Protein Power
Protein is one of the key ingredients of a healthy diet and getting
it from a delicious fruit like ackee is even wonderful! Protein
is basically the building block of cells, muscle tissue, as well
as other important aspects of our body that needs to be repeatedly
replenished. Ackee isn’t always admired for its high protein
content, but it is remarkably high for a fruit.
3. Digestive Issues
The rich fiber content of ackee makes it a perfect digestive aid,
since dietary fiber helps to bulk up stool, and eradicates constipation,
simply by inducing peristaltic motion in the gut. Apart from that
it helps move food along, preventing bloating, cramping, constipation,
and other inflammation of the colon, which may result in more serious
issues like colorectal cancer. Similarly dietary fiber helps to
lower cholesterol and boost heart health!
4. Bone Strength
Ackee is loaded with numerous essential minerals like calcium,
Zinc, phosphorous and irons all of which contribute to healthier
bones as well as help to avoid bone loss and demineralization. Regular
intake of minerals can slow, stop, or reverse the effects of osteoporosis
as we age, leaving us stronger for longer!
5. Fights off Colds and Flu
Vitamin C contained in Ackee is beneficial for immune system and
plays an important role in your body’s capability to fight
off colds and viruses. 1000 mg of Vitamin C is appropriate to fight
off an oncoming cold whereas 4000 mg per day is required to get
rid of a cold that is previously in your system.
Regular use of Ackee during colds and flu can help to reduce the
risk of developing further complications, like pneumonia and lung
Lack of iron or insufficient iron is one of the most common causes
of anemia. Ackee’s higher iron content solves that problem
impeccably, ensuring that you avoid the side effects of anemia like
weakness, digestive distress, cognitive disorders and lightheadedness.
Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, which is essential to produce
RBC (red blood cells).
7. Heart Health
Aside from its effect on blood pressure, ackee also boasts a remarkable
range of beneficial fatty acids, like stearic, linoleic, and palmitic
acids. Those acids are unsaturated fats, which is the type of fat
that you want to increase your heart health and lower dangerous
cholesterol levels. By removing most unhealthy saturated fats from
the diet, you can protect yourself from atherosclerosis, strokes,
heart attacks, and coronary heart disease.
8. Immune Effects
Vitamin C is one of the most common vitamins found in fruits and
vegetables and ackee is no exception. With a rich ascorbic acid
content, ackee helps to boost our immune system by encouraging the
development of white blood cells, and contributing some of its antioxidant
powers to avoiding chronic diseases and cellular mutation. Additionally,
vitamin C is an integral part of collagen, which is necessary for
the body to make muscles, blood vessels, and tissues.
9. Prevention of Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps are mainly caused due to electrolyte imbalance &
dehydration and are quite common in the summer months. Sodium present
in ackee is responsible for muscle contraction as well as hydration.
Sodium rich juices and fluids help to restore the amount of electrolyte.
Ackee is one of the best options for getting required amount of
sodium since it contained 240 mg of sodium which is 16.00% of the
daily recommended value.
10. Diabetes Control
Ackee is rich in complex, energy-producing carbs, which help to
normalize the sugar levels in your body. By avoiding the dips and
spike in glucose levels that you get from simple sugars, ackee helps
to fend off Type II diabetes. Higher fiber content in ackee is a
great way to control glucose and insulin levels in the blood.
Information sourced from www.healthbenefitstimes.com