For Malayalis anywhere, ‘Chakka’ - jackfruit - instantly brings to mind a slurpy tropical taste. Never mind that ‘chakka’ is also a colloquial term to express frustration …this may have to do with its unwieldy size…after all, it is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world.
To give it its rightful honour (as if Malayalis need any prodding to love the vegetable-fruit), the state government has set up a Jackfruit Promotion Council which launched a promotion campaign in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, inaugurated by none other than Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
So for the next 10 days or so, Malayalis can immerse themselves in viewing the fruit as a symbol for holistic health.
According to an article that appeared in Food Research International, the jackfruit possesses hypoglycemic, anti-ulcer, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. It is an immune booster too and helps keep your blood pressure well under check.
Botanically known as Artocarpus Heterophyllus Lam, the tree belongs to the family Moraceae family and was originally endemic to the Western Ghats. This South-East Asian native is also incidentally the national fruit of neighboring Bangladesh.
Foreigners surprisingly find its smell sort of sweet but putrid, but ask any South Indian and they will gush about the lovely aroma that wafts from a ripe jackfruit. The fruit can be consumed raw, fried, curried, boiled…in whatever form that appeals to your palate. With its meaty contours, the fruit is also a favourite among vegans who find it a delicious alternative with its ‘pulled pork’ flavor, when cooked.
Check out the fruit’s nutrition chart put out by USDA. We even have scientists advocating its cause as a replacement for staple crops that face the threat of extinction owing to climate change, as it is easy to cultivate and more importantly, drought-resistant.
It’s not surprising that a Malayali business man actually runs a company called Jackfruit365…trust a Keralite to be among the first to tap into hitherto un-ventured business territory.
Known as the poor man’s food, eat a quarter of the fruit and there is an automatic surge in your metabolism which can see you through most of the day without any further nourishment.
The tree as a whole seems to pack one big medical punch from head to toe with its leaves, seeds, bark and roots too finding a prominent place in traditional and alternative medicinal systems.
Rich in carbohydrates, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron and potassium, protein, vitamins, phyto-nutrients and electrolytes, it reportedly also aids in alleviating asthmatic, heartburn, thyroid, hormonal, anemic, bone, cardiac and respiratory disorder symptoms; not to mention being a great digestive because of high fibre content. You can also boast of better vision by gorging on this fleshy fruit and is known to be very effective in treating deterioration of eye muscles and night blindness.
The seeds are a beautician’s best friend with its wrinkle-fighting propensity and helps maintain a glowing complexion. And for those who aspire for those long beautiful tresses, these help in stimulating hair follicles too.