Ackee fruit is a member of the soap berry family. He is the close relative of Longan and Lychee. Ackee is native to Guyana and West Africa, but now it is mainly grown in Jamaica, where it is considered a national fruit. When it is not ripe, the ackee fruit looks like an aqueous fruit of pink apple, the seams are still closed. The Ackee tree is a beautiful tree, so it is widely used as an ornamental plant in the Caribbean countries. Only in Jamaica is it used as a staple food. Ackee trees only produce fruits 2 times a year. The tree is native to West Africa, and was probably brought to the Caribbean in slave ships. The outer meat is mixed yellow and red. When it matures, the color turns bright red and the seams open, exposing the seeds and the cream-colored pulp.
Ackee fruit is considered safe to eat when ripe and the seams open naturally; but immature 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, ackee fruit will taste the same as scrambled eggs.
Ackee is a good source of fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Contrary to long-standing popular beliefs, the fats contained in ackee fruit are healthy fats. There is no cholesterol or saturated fatty acids in the ackee fruit.
Here is the Nutritional Value of 100 Grams of Ackee Pulp:
- Component Quantity / 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 2000 calorie diet. You may need more or less calories according to your age, sex, health status and daily activities.
13 Benefits of Ackee Fruit That Nobody Knew:
The Jamaican people believe that ackee fruit is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. Ripe fruits are very nutritious and are used for traditional medicine and basic foods; while the immature, the over-mature, along with all the outer pulp and seeds are poisonous. As mentioned earlier, the fruit is full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can help many health problems. It is full of vitamins, nutrients and organic components that make it a useful dietary tool for a range of health conditions. Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of ackee.
1. Control Hypertension:
People who have hypertension should increase potassium intake. Ackee fruit contains 270 mg of potassium (5.74% of the daily value), so it is good to add ackee fruit in your diet. The high level of potassium in the blood dilates the blood vessels, which makes it easier for the heart to pump blood through the body. When the heart does not need additional pressure to pump blood, the blood pressure will be lower. It is known that chronic hypertension causes damage to blood vessels. It is also one of the risk factors for atherosclerosis, which can cause a heart attack and stroke.
2. Source of Vegetable Protein:
Protein is necessary for the regeneration of body cells and for muscles to work, especially during workouts. A high protein diet can help the weight loss program because proteins are more difficult to digest; therefore, the body needs to take energy from fatty tissues to digest proteins. This process makes us feel full for longer. For vegetarians, this is good news, since they can add their protein intake to a delicious fruit.
3. Promotes a Healthy Digestive System:
The fiber content of the ackee fruit is abundant. These fibers help add stool mass, helping us to go to the bathroom regularly, so it prevents constipation. The fibers also induce peristaltic movement in the intestines, cause food to move and prevent swelling, cramping, constipation and other inflammations in the colon.
4. Strengthens the Bones:
It contains a lot of calcium, phosphorus and zinc that 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 body fight colds and viruses. This is why South Americans and Africans use ackee fruit to treat cold, flu and fever. The consumption of ackee fruit during the 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.
6. Treatment of Anemia:
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 for hypertension, but not only that, the ackee fruit also contains unsaturated fatty acids. The cells of our body need unsaturated fatty acids to function well.
“Unsaturated fatty acids also reduce the level of cholesterol, thus protecting us from atherosclerosis”.
As we know, atherosclerosis can lead to several problems such as heart attacks, coronary heart disease and stroke.
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. In addition, sodium is necessary for muscle contraction, while potassium is necessary for muscle relaxation. The consumption of ackee fruit can help restore the electrolyte balance, but we must also drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
9. Control the Level of Blood Sugar:
Ackee fruit is rich in complex carbohydrates, which are necessary to produce energy and help normalize our blood sugar level. 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, and then the mixture is placed in the affected area. To get rid of the migratory skin larvae, a shower or a bath with decoction of leaves and ackee bark is taken.
11. Edema Treatment:
The crushed leaves and the bark are placed on the skin of the edematous zone. 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 must be administered 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, crushed bark is used as an antidote against snake bites, stings and scorpions, while crushed leaves are placed in the bite area to prevent abscesses.
How to Consume this Exotic Fruit?
Fresh pulp of fully ripe fruits can be consumed 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 salt water or milk and then fry it lightly in butter, just like scrambled eggs. After cooking, the pulp can also be added to curry, meat stew and other dishes. Even with canned pulp, precooked is essential, since we do not know of any process that has occurred with the pulps.
Caution with the Ackee Fruit:
Ripe fruits are very poisonous. Since 1970, USA banned all imports of most ackee products. Now the USA They has recently begun to allow the import of canned ripe ackee in limited quantities. Never force an immature ackee to open with sharp objects, as the fruit will naturally open when ripe and ready to eat. Also pay attention to the skin color of the outer pulp; those that are fully mature have a bright red color. Never eat outer meat as it is very poisonous. The symptoms of poisoning can vary from vomiting, body seizures and death. It is probably still difficult to find fresh ackee fruits outside 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, eating ackee fruits gives many health benefits of ackee fruit in our body.