Ukwa, an African breadfruit from the Moraceae family, is a nutritious fruit and a staple in Nigerian cuisine. The Ukwa seeds are highly valued for their nutritional benefits. It is related to other exotic fruits like breadnuts, jackfruit, figs, and mulberries.
NUTRITIONAL AND MEDICINAL BENEFITS OF TRECULIA AFRICANA:
Treculia africana, commonly known as breadfruit, is valued for its medicinal properties and moderate levels of essential vitamins and minerals.
- The fresh seeds of Treculia Africana contain high levels of carbohydrates, fats, and crude protein.
- It is a potential alternative to rice and yam, and its seeds can be ground into flour, or pressed for oil. Moreover, it is also used as flavoring in alcoholic drinks.
- Additionally, it is rich in minerals like potassium, copper, iron, phosphorus, etc., while being low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
- Breadfruit is a tropical fruit that is high in calories.100 grams of this fruit provides 102 calories.
- It contains small amounts of flavonoids and antioxidants like xanthin and lutein.
- Additionally, breadfruit is a rich source of Vitamin C, with one medium-sized fruit providing 29mg of the recommended daily allowance.
Health Benefits of Ukwa:
- Good for the Heart: Ukwa seed has many health benefits. It is rich in potassium and is good for the heart as it regulates blood pressure and heart rate. The breadfruit helps in reducing the effects of sodium. Its dietary fiber content prevents cholesterol absorption, lowers LDL, and increases HDL levels while reducing triglyceride levels that can cause heart attacks.
- Good for the Immune System: Breadfruit’s antioxidant content aids in developing resistance against infections. It helps to get rid of harmful radicals that can make you age faster or cause diseases related to aging.
- Energy Boost: With 60 grams of carbohydrates per cup, breadfruit is a valuable source of energy. It is particularly beneficial for athletes and gym-goers.
- Diabetes Control: Breadfruit’s fiber content inhibits glucose absorption. This helps in diabetes control. It also contains compounds that support insulin production by the pancreas.
- Digestive Health: The fiber content promotes healthy bowel and intestinal function. It flushes out toxins and prevents digestion-related ailments such as heartburn, acidity, ulcers, and gastritis. It protects the colon from cancer-causing chemicals.
- The goodness of Omega Fatty Acids: Breadfruit is a good source of both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These are essential nutrients for the optimal development and functioning of the mind and body. These fatty acids play a crucial role in various bodily processes, including brain function, growth, and inflammation regulation.
- Breadfruit for Dental Health: Toasted ukwa flower can be an effective natural remedy for toothache. Crushed breadfruit leaves can be applied to the tongue to treat thrush. The breadfruit can be attributed to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce mouth pain and inflammation in the mouth.
- Useful against Skin Inflammation: Fresh breadfruit extracts may help to prevent excessive inflammation in the skin. It helps by inhibiting the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes and preventing the overproduction of nitric oxides. This can be particularly beneficial for those with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne, which are characterized by inflammation.
- Helps in Collagen Production: Drinking breadfruit juice can help to even out the skin tone and firm the skin by rejuvenating its appearance. This is due to the high content of Vitamin C in breadfruit which is essential for the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides elasticity to the skin, helping to maintain a youthful appearance.
- Skin Infection Treatment: Ashes of the breadfruit leaves have been traditionally used for their medicinal properties and can be effective in treating skin infections. The latex obtained from the ukwa seed tree is applied to skin surfaces affected by skin diseases like eczema, or psoriasis.
- Useful for new Cell Growth: Breadfruit’s antioxidants offer protection against harmful UV rays and prevent sun damage. It also promotes the growth of new skin cells which can result in smoother, younger-looking skin.
- Hair Nourishment: Ukwa is a rich source of several hair-friendly nutrients that help maintain healthy hair. Vitamin C present in breadfruit aids in mineral absorption and provides nourishment to the hair. Breadfruit promotes hair growth due to the moderate amounts of iron it contains.
- Treats Hair Issues: This fruit is known to have properties that help reduce hair breakage and naturally condition the hair. It is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that help regulate sebum production in the scalp, etc. Additionally, it inhibits scalp inflammation and cell death, thereby preventing hair loss.
CHECK THE DIFFERENT WAYS OF COOKING UKWA:
Ukwa is a fruit with a natural delicious flavor. It can be cooked in different ways. The fruit can be roasted, baked, fried, or boiled before consumption. The flesh of the breadfruit has a pleasant fragrance and sweet taste. It can even be cooked plain without any ingredients, and still taste great, especially when prepared with fresh Ukwa. Roasting and eating with coconut or palm kernel is also an option. The ukwa porridge also tastes great.
Order Dried ukwa from the online store of PMF African Foods and cook this superfood in different ways. Include ukwa in your daily diet and reap the amazing health benefits of this African fruit.