Ackee fruit is a ‘one-stop shop’ for nutrients, offering countless benefits for your healthy living. The West Africa-rooted fruit is growing and gaining popularity in tropical areas worldwide due to its unique flavor and medicinal purposes. Hence, you can reap many health benefits of Ackee by adding it to your diet.
The health advantages of Ackee are digestive health promotion, weight loss enhancement, blood sugar stabilization, bone health improvement, and more. The fruit contains protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, eating the fruit when fully ripe and well-prepared is advisable to avoid toxic harm.
This article defines the Ackee fruit, its nutritional value, and how to prepare it for safe consumption. Also, it outlines the fruit’s benefits and side effects.
Let’s dive in.
What Is an Ackee Fruit?
Ackee, also known as Acki, Akee, Ackee apple, or Blighia sapida (scientifically), is a colorful and delicious fruit with many nutrients and health benefits. The tropical fruit is also known as ‘Jamaican Ackee’ or ‘national fruit of Jamaica’ as it’s a dietary staple in Jamaica.
Ackee apple has various nutrients, as tabulated below.
|Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
|Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
However, you should ensure that it’s fully ripe to prevent harm from toxins in the unripe fruit.
What Are the Health Benefits of Ackee?
Ackee fruit has the following health benefits:
- Digestive health promotion
- Weight loss enhancement
- Blood sugar stabilization
- Heart health boosting
- Immune system strengthening
- Skin infection treatment
- High blood pressure control
- Blood pressure treatment
- Magnesium sufficient supply
- Protein level enhancement
- Circulation regulation
- Muscle cramps prevention
- Liver functionality boosting
- Vitamin D levels increment
- Bone health improvement
- Macular degeneration prevention
Keep reading as we look into the above health benefits of Jamaican fruit.
Digestive Health Promotion
Ackee fruit promotes the health of your digestive system and aids digestion as it contains high levels of dietary fiber. Fiber helps bulk up stool, allowing food to move smoothly along the gut.
Consequently, it prevents constipation, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, intestinal ulcers, diarrhea, loose stool, intestinal ulcers, cramping, and colon inflammation (a potential cause of colorectal cancer).
Also, it helps treat these digestive conditions.
A cup of Ackee has 2g of fiber. The amount boosts your intake and enhances effective and proper digestive system functionality.
Weight Loss Enhancement
Promoting weight loss is one of the significant health benefits of Ackee. The fruit is a low-calorie food with high fiber levels and vegetarian protein, which lowers weight by reducing hunger and raising satiety. The high fiber content is a roughage that isn’t easily digested by the body but regulates food digestion.
Dietary fiber minimizes the risk of obesity and related conditions. It keeps cravings away and your stomach full.
Additionally, Ackee is rich in a range of nutrients, such as folate, magnesium, and potassium, which are responsible for controlling digestion. Thus, it keeps your weight in check.
Blood Sugar Stabilization
Dietary fiber in the Ackee fruit regulates blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. It helps your body process insulin better, stabilizing sugar levels. Thus, the fruit is beneficial if you’re diabetic or prediabetic.
Furthermore, Ackee fiber prevents blood sugar spikes after taking a meal, as it reduces sugar in the blood. Hence, it’s ideal for blood sugar management.
Also, fruit is a highly recommended source of healthy complex carbohydrates that enhance insulin and blood glucose regulation.
Heart Health Boosting
Being a good source of beneficial fats is among the incredible health benefits of Ackee. Jamaican national fruit contains unsaturated fatty acids that enhance heart health and the proper functioning of your body cells.
Primary unsaturated fats include stearic, linoleic, and palmitic acids. An essential fatty acid helps control cholesterol levels and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis and heart conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart stroke, and heart attacks.
The healthy fatty acids remove the saturated (unhealthy) fats from your body, lowering the risk of heart-related problems. Also, Ackee’s high dietary fiber levels lower cholesterol, enhancing cardiovascular health.
Immune System Strengthening
As with Blood Oranges, the Acki fruit has vitamin C nutrients, which boost the immune system’s functionality. The minerals help the body fight viruses and colds. Hence, it’s an ideal traditional remedy for colds and flu, lowering complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Also, Ackee has high vitamin A content that supports your body’s natural defenses: It aids the production and functionality of white blood cells. The white blood cells, in turn, trap and destroy disease-causing organisms from the blood.
Furthermore, vitamin C is a component of collagen the body requires to make blood vessels, tissues, and muscles.
Skin Infection Treatment
Many minerals and vitamins that give you healthy skin and aid in cartilage healing are among the health benefits of Ackee. The vitamins also eliminate acne (a skin condition resulting from hair follicles plugging with oil and dead skin cells.
Africans use Ackee leaves to treat skin infections such as abscesses and yaws. They mix pounded leaves with salt and apply them to the affected skin areas. Also, you can bathe with a mixture of Ackee leaves and the back to treat cutaneous larva migrans.
Moreover, Ackee fruits and leaves can treat intercostal edema. Many traditional medicines have them as part of their makeup.
High Blood Pressure Control
The high potassium content in Ackee fruit is an excellent vasodilator that helps reduce blood pressure. Once the blood vessels dilate, the heart pumps blood efficiently. As a result, the arterial blood pressure lowers, causing a drop in your overall blood pressure.
The reduced strain and work for the cardiovascular system lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and artery and blood vessel damage.
Blood Pressure Treatment
Jamaican Ackee has been a significant constituent of African traditional medicines for high blood pressure treatment for many years. It contains quercetin compound, which lowers blood pressure by boosting nitric oxide formation.
The oxide causes blood pressure to fall by relaxing and dilating blood vessels.
Also, Ackee contains other compounds with anti-hypertensive effects, such as ellagitannins and anthocyanins.
Its high level of potassium also regulates blood pressure effectively. Lowering blood pressure naturally with minimal side effects is one of the fantastic health benefits of Ackee.
Magnesium Sufficient Supply
Ackee is a good source of magnesium, one of the most essential nutrients in your body. It plays a significant role in numerous body chemical reactions daily.
Magnesium maintains healthy bones and muscles, regulates blood sugar levels, and supports nerve function. Additionally, the nutrient aids the treatment of stress, depression, and anxiety.
Insufficient magnesium can cause irregular heartbeats, abnormal heart rhythms, increased blood pressure, muscle cramps, and seizures.
Protein Level Enhancement
Vegetarian protein is one of the critical health benefits of Ackee. The fruit can provide the high protein content your body needs for cell regeneration and proper muscle functionality (necessary during workouts).
Proteins also aid weight loss. Since they aren’t easily digested, your body draws energy from fat tissues to facilitate digestion. Thus, you remain full for a longer time.
Iron is another essential Ackee fruit mineral necessary in blood circulation. It helps manufacture hemoglobin, which is one of the elements of the red blood cells responsible for oxygen transport throughout the body.
Also, iron plays a significant role in the gastrointestinal processes.
Iron deficiency in your body can cause anemia, cognitive disorders, lightheadedness, and digestive distress.
Muscle Cramps Prevention
Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration are significant causes of muscle cramps, especially after workouts and during hot seasons.
Luckily, one of the health benefits of Ackee fruit is the presence of sodium and potassium that help balance electrolytes in your body.
Also, sodium is helpful in muscle contraction, while potassium aids muscle relaxation. Even so, you must drink enough water to curb dehydration.
Liver Functionality Boosting
A healthy liver is essential in enhancing the overall health of your body. Ackee fruit is rich in antioxidants that aid in improving your liver’s health.
The fruit has anti-inflammatory properties and fights the damage caused by free radicals. Hence, Ackee fruit is a safe snack to preserve your liver’s health.
Vitamin D Levels Increment
While you can get vitamin D from sunlight, Ackee fruit is another reliable source, especially if you don’t get enough exposure to sunlight.
Hence, you can add it to your diet to boost vitamin D levels. Vitamin D keeps your bones healthy and certain types of cancer at bay.
Bone Health Improvement
High zinc, calcium, and phosphorus content are among the health benefits of Ackee that prevent bone degradation and loss.
They maintain strong bones and increase bone mineral density. As a result, the fruit can help slow, reverse, or stop osteoporosis conditions as you age.
Thus, your body stays more muscular, and you live longer.
Macular Degeneration Prevention
The high vitamin A content of Ackee fruit ensures proper eye health. It enhances good eyesight and prevents eye conditions that can cause blindness, such as macular degeneration.
Are There Side Effects of Ackee?
Yes, Ackee has various side effects if you consume it when not fully ripe, overripe, or eat the inedible parts (membranes and seeds) of a ripe one.
It can cause convulsions, vomiting, cholestatic jaundice, hypoglycemia, coma, or even death. Also, raw Ackee fruit isn’t recommended, even if it’s ripe.
Since you’re now informed of the many health benefits of Ackee, consider including it in your diet daily and live a healthy life. The benefits include a robust immune and digestive system, a healthy heart, controlled blood pressure, healthy skin, and a properly functioning liver.
Also, the fruit keeps your bones strong and weight in check and prevents macular degeneration and muscle cramps.
A ripe Ackee has a red membrane and is split open, exposing black seeds. It’s a tasty and nutrient-rich food, making it an excellent addition to various dishes. However, Ackee must be adequately cooked to avoid the poisoning risk.