Breadfruit Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Breadfruit

raw breadfruit

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Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is the fruit of the breadfruit tree, a member of the mulberry family, native to the South Pacific. Generally, people refer to the prickly green food as a fruit when consumed ripe and as a vegetable when consumed underripe. Breadfruit is starchy—similar to a potato. It can be baked, steamed, fried, sauteed or used in dishes like soups and stews. Depending on how you prepare the fruit, breadfruit can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (220g) of raw breadfruit.

  • Calories: 227
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 4.4mg
  • Carbohydrates: 60g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Sugars: 24g
  • Protein: 2.4g

Carbs in Breadfruit

Most of the calories in breadfruit come from carbohydrates. There are a whopping 60 grams of carbs in a one-cup serving. About 24 grams come from naturally-occurring sugar and roughly the same amount comes from starch. You'll also benefit from 11 grams of fiber.

Breadfruit is often compared to other high-carb foods such as potatoes and white rice. As a basis for comparison, a 100-gram (about 1/2 cup) serving of breadfruit contains roughly 32 grams of carbohydrate while the same serving of a potato contains about 16 grams of carbohydrate and a 1/2 cup serving of rice contains about 29 grams of carbohydrate.

The estimated glycemic load of a single cup serving of breadfruit is about 11. The estimated glycemic load of one cup of white rice is 24 and the estimated glycemic load of a baked potato is about 16.

Fats in Breadfruit

There is less than one gram of fat in a cup of raw breadfruit, making this a naturally low-fat food. The very small amount of fat is healthy polyunsaturated fat.

However, breadfruit is often prepared with fat. If breadfruit is prepared with oils, lard, or butter the fat content will increase, and if butter or another animal fat is used in the preparation, you'll also increase your intake of saturated fat.

Protein in Breadfruit

Breadfruit is not a significant source of protein providing about 2.4 grams per serving, but it contains almost twice as much protein than a similar serving of white rice or potato. Studies have shown that the protein in breadfruit is mostly leucine and lycine. These essential amino acids must be consumed in foods because the body cannot produce them.

Micronutrients in Breadfruit

Breadfruit provides a number of health-boosting vitamins and minerals.

A single serving of breadfruit provides nearly 64 mg of vitamin C or 106% of your recommended daily intake. You'll also get about 16% of your recommended intake of thiamin and about 11% of your recommended intake of vitamin B6. Other vitamins in breadfruit include pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin K, vitamin E, and folate.

Breadfruit is a good source of potassium, providing 31% of your daily needs, slightly less than a similar serving of potato but much more than white rice. Other minerals in breadfruit include magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and selenium.

Health Benefits

Breadfruit is widely touted as a food with medicinal and health benefits. For example, the native people of Indonesia and Pacific islands have traditionally used the fruit pulp as a liver tonic and as a treatment for liver cirrhosis or hypertension. There is little scientific evidence to support these uses. But there are studies documenting other health benefits.

For example, breadfruit is a rich source of prenylated phenolic compounds that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, researchers have pointed out that the compounds in breadfruit may be helpful in the treatment of rheumatic and muscular pain.

Breadfruit byproducts have also been studied for the economic and nutritional benefits they provide. Breadfruit seeds (breadnuts), for instance, have been acknowledged by researchers as the poor man’s substitute for yams because they are cheap, and highly nutritious—providing a low-fat source of protein. As such, they can be used in several traditional food preparations instead of yams which are more expensive. 

Breadfruit flour has also been studied. In some areas, breadfruit flour is used as a more economical and more nutritious replacement for wheat flour. Since breadfruit is gluten-free, the flour also offers an alternative for those who have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten-sensitivity. Processing breadfruit into flour also preserves its nutritional value. So food scientists are investigating the use of this alternative flour in nutritional aids such as bars and beverages.

Common Questions

What is the difference between jackfruit and breadfruit?

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is another tropical fruit and close relative of breadfruit and breadnut. The fruit of the jackfruit tree is larger than the breadfruit and has numerous hard, cone-like points. The whole ripe fruit has a smell resembling that of rotting onions, but the pulp of the opened fruit has an odor closer to that of pineapple and banana.

Jackfruit is also studied for its nutritional properties and potential for use in medicine, specifically for its anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and hypoglycemic properties. More studies are needed to fully understand the health benefits it may provide.

How do I buy the best breadfruit?

You won't find breadfruit in any grocery store. If you have a Caribbean specialty store in your area, they are likely to have them. They are in season from July to February.

To select good breadfruit, look for greenish-yellow skin and a firm texture. The fruit bruises easily so check for bruises or soft spots. Some brown cracking is okay, but not too much.

If you choose to use it as a vegetable, look for less ripe fruits with bright green flesh. A bit of white sap is normal. If you use it as a fruit, look for a yellow-brown peel and a softer texture.

How do I store breadfruit?

In some parts of the world, breadfruit is stored in cold water until it is used to prevent bruising. If you prefer not to store it in water, you can keep it in a cold dark place (such as a refrigerator). Baked breadfruit can be kept for one to two days without refrigeration.

What does breadfruit taste like?

Breadfruit is considered the tropical potato when used as a vegetable. But the riper, sweeter version is commonly compared to a banana. Most agree that the starchy texture is relatively bland which makes it versatile to use in both sweet and savory recipes.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

The National Breadfruit Institute of Hawai’i describes many different ways that the fruit can be prepared. They suggest that it can be a delicious substitute for any starchy root crop, rice, pasta, vegetable, or potato. It can be steamed, boiled, fried, baked, added to casseroles, curries, stews, chowders, or salads. When chosen as a sweeter riper fruit, it can be used in fritters, pancakes, or bread recipes. Breadfruit can also be mashed for use in savory dips.

To handle breadfruit properly, first remove the stem, then wash the fruit. You may want to cut the fruit into quarters and core it for easier use. The skin can be peeled either before or after cooking, but many say that it is easier when peeled after cooking using a paring knife or peeler.

According to the State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, popular breadfruit dishes include a potato-like salad, breadfruit curry, breadfruit cooked in coconut cream, breadfruit chowder, or breadfruit with corned beef. Flan, breadfruit beverages, and breadfruit chips are also popular.

Allergies and Interactions

There are established but limited reports of an anaphylactic reaction to jackfruit, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Because the fruits are closely related it is possible that there may be cross-reactivity to other fruits in the mulberry family such as breadfruit but reports are lacking.

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Article Sources

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