Ackee is a delicious fruit characterized by yellow or red skin and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.
It has some nutritional contents such as protein, carbohydrate, vitamin and some other important elements like potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium which are beneficial to the human body; it is quite useful in culinary and has different nutritional benefits.
The 11 Fantastic Health Benefits of Ackee fruits which makes it good for consumption are;
1. Produces Energy
Ackee fruit contains Vitamin B3 also known as the main vitamin which is an essential nutrient in the body that aids in the effective conversion of food into glucose and on the other hand produces energy and macromolecules to the body.
The vitamin also helps in reducing of cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as improving the circulation of blood in the body.
2. Prevents Scurvy
The fruit is a great source of vitamin C which is an antioxidant that prevents the body from certain deficiencies such as scurvy and boosts the immune system.
Vitamin C content in Ackee fruit has a very important role to play as it helps in preventing bleeding gums, bruises and other related health conditions that affect the teeth.
3. Promotes Red Blood Cell Production
It is rich in iron which is the main key to the production of red blood cell and efficient delivery of oxygen around the body. The content of iron in the fruit helps also in preventing anaemia, which results when there is a deficiency of iron in the body.
It also contains folic acid which also helps in the red blood cell production; folic acid is used in various treatments of anaemia as well.
Ackee fruits also contain the vitamin C which helps to absorption of the iron nutrients in the body, therefore, they all work together to help in improving the red blood cells in the body.
4. Protects the Heart
Ackee fruit is known to have zero cholesterol content and plays an important role in cardiovascular protection by reducing blood cholesterol level. It contains healthy fatty acids such as linoleic and stearic acid.
The component makes it good for the heart, as the unsaturated fats as mentioned above minimizes the risk of several heart conditions and diseases by regulating the levels of cholesterols in the body.
One of the main functions of this type of fat is to remove of some of the saturated fats in the body which are termed “unhealthy”, thereby minimizing the chances of heart-related problems, strokes and even atherosclerosis.
5. Helps in Digestion
There is a moderate fibre content in the fruit which helps to control the bowel movement and aid in proper digestion thereby lowering the risk of constipation.
The rich fibre content fruit helps in producing bulk stool, and prevent any form of digestive problems such as bloating, and cramps, and other health conditions which might lead to the inflammation of the colon.
6. Good for Weight loss
It serves as a source of vegetarian protein and can be used for weight loss program due to its pretentious benefits. Though its protein content is small when compared with other protein giving food, but is high enough for fruits since most fruits contain low or no protein at all.
Therefore, it helps in building the body muscles, tissues and cells etc. It’s fibre content also makes it good for weight loss as it serves as a roughage which does not get digested in the body but helps in regulating digestion.
The fibre content as helps to reduce craving as it makes one fuller, thereby helping in weight loss.
7. Regulates Blood Sugar Level
Ackee is good for people with type 2 diabetes and generally used for regulation of sugar level in the body.
Ackee fruits are made of health complex carbs which are made up with more nutrients than simple carbs, though they are both converted into glucose in the body which provides the body with energy.
Due to its complex carb nature, it contains more fibre, and in terms of digestion, it doesn’t easily get digested.
This makes it a substitute for most fruits with simple sugars as it helps in the reduction of sugar in the blood, which could have caused a spike in blood. It is recommended as a great source of healthy complex carbohydrates which helps in blood glucose and insulin regulation.
8. Lowers Blood Pressure
Ackee contains the mineral potassium in a high quantity, and as such helps in reducing the blood pressure. It is a good fruit recommended for those who are hypertensive and it will help curb down their blood pressure.
In the body, the potassium content in the fruit helps prevent vasoconstriction which is to say that it functions as a vasodilation as it helps to relax the muscles in order to widen the vessels of the blood.
This function helps to prevent the contraction of the body muscles, and arteries which could lead to high pressure on the blood which could result to hypertension, atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular conditions like heart attack, stroke.
9. For Healthy Bones
Ackee fruits contain vital minerals which are good for the bone such as calcium, known to help in building the bones structures, potassium which works together with calcium to provide the bones with strength.
Zinc is another mineral present in ackee fruit as it helps for better absorption of calcium by the bones, iron also helps in building the bones as it makes it strong as well.
These minerals all work together for a healthy bone structure, and as well help in bone repair, and prevent loss of vital minerals by the bone. It can also help in preventing osteoporosis which is a health condition that affects the bones in both strength and structure.
10. Prevents Muscle Cramps
The body needs potassium and sodium in the body especially in the areas of balancing the body’s electrolyte which is very essential in the functioning of the body cells and organs.
Ackee fruits contain these two minerals, while sodium is noted for making the muscles of contract, potassium does the opposite in trying to relax the muscles.
Therefore to avoid muscle cramps which results from the imbalance of electrolyte in the body as well as dehydration, these two minerals are very essential and can be gotten from the fruits whilst we take plenty of water to keep us hydrated and prevent muscle cramps.
11. Good for Pregnant Women
Folic acid is one of the essential supplement which is recommended for TTC moms and pregnant women as it helps in providing them with natural folic acid which is needed for the effective growth and development of the foetus.
It also plays another important role as it prevents DNA changes in the body which could result in cancer or other harmful effects.
Nutritional Values of Ackee Fruits per 100g of Ackee Pulp
(2.9 – 8.9) g
Total dietary fibre
35 – 83 mg
Niacin (vit B3)
1.1 – 3.9 mg
Thiamin (vit B1)
Riboflavin (vit B2)
Where Are Ackee Fruits Grown?
The ackee is native to West Africa and Guyana and is grown most especially in the western part of Nigeria which is called Ishin in Yoruba, though it became internationally recognised as it was exported to Jamaica on the 18th century where it was later grown and largely been cultivated.
Its cultivation extends to the Caribbean, where it is used in various culinary dishes. Most of the fresh fruits can be gotten in the areas where it is being cultivated, in other places, it is mostly canned and sold as canned fruits/foods.
Ackee has a yellow or red colour with a black nut which is not edible, the fruit must be ripe before it can be eaten or cooked in order to avoid the toxins present in unripe ones.
How to Eat Ackee Fruits
Ackee fruit is eaten as a food rather than as a fruit, and before it is considered suitable for eating, the fruit must be riped and the pulp slipt open. The yellow or red arilli is the edible part while the nuts are toxic as well.
It can either be eaten fresh or cooked as it is used in some many wide varieties of dishes, as it can be eaten with saltfish and breadfruits, and others which is one of Jamaican ackee cuisines.
In most countries, the government put a ban on the importation of fresh Ackee fruit due to its poisonous nature, as unripened ones can cause death due to the toxins it contains when unripe, so in most places, you may not get fresh ackee.
Rather you might be able to find canned ackee fruit which is also important that you should boil it before consumption in order to remove the chemicals used in the preservation.
Is Ackee Safe to Eat
Ackee fruit is entirely safe to eat, provided it is eaten when ripe and the pulp must have split open. Only Unripe ones and the nuts of the fruit are Unsafe for consumption.
Medicinal uses of Ackee (Ishin)
Ackee serves so many medicinal purposes and is used locally in the treatment of many health conditions such as yaws, Oedema (accumulation of fluid under the skin), ulcers, snake and insect bites, scorpion stings.
In this kind of traditional treatment, the Ackee fruits don’t only serve this purpose, its bark and leaves are effective for the treatment of many health conditions.
In most of the treatment, the leaves and bark of the Ackee tree is pounded into fine particles and applied on the affected areas, the liquid extract can also be drained and used for various medicinal purposes like in the treatment of ulcer and eliminating of intestinal parasites.
Ackee fruit contains lots of organic components and other nutrients that are beneficial to health and the fresh pulp can be eaten raw or cooked especially when it is ripped because unripe Ackee can be poisonous to health.
Ackee fruit is one of the rare fruits which may not be common and in most cases may not be seen fresh, but it has a lot of health and medicinal benefits which it has to offer and must be eaten ripe.