Health and nutritional benefits of breadfruit

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Breadfruit is a staple food sought after because it is an inexpensive source of high energy. Compared to banana, cassava, plantain, taro, and sweet potato, it is a relatively good source of calcium (Monro et al., 1986). Potassium and phosphorus have been reported in relatively good quantities, although amounts may vary between cultivars. Compared to other tropical starchy foods, it is an acceptable source of vitamin C (20 mg/100 mg of pulp) and has good levels of iron, niacin, and riboflavin at all stages of maturity. Although not high in protein, the amino acid profile of its protein is favorable. Breadfruit also contains significantly high amounts of fiber. According to the American Heart Association, fiber decreases bad cholesterol and triglycerides, which increase the risk of heart attack. An increased intake of fiber lowers low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol levels while elevating high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol levels in the body. Breadfruit protects the body against heart disease and heart attack (Fassbender, 2008). Breadfruit benefits the body because it contains favorable amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

The main problem with breadfruit utilization is its high perishability, resulting in high post-harvest losses. In some extreme cases, up to 50% losses have been reported. Consequently, only fruits for immediate needs are harvested, thus reducing the opportunities for development of a large-scale international trade in breadfruit (Bates et al., 1991). Its possible incorporation in baked goods such as bread could widen its scope of utilization with consequent reduction in postharvest losses in developing countries.

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