Health Benefits of Breadfruit (Ukwa) Eastern Nigerian Delicacy (Photos) - Grace Ngo Foundation

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Friday, 21 August 2015

Health Benefits of Breadfruit (Ukwa) Eastern Nigerian Delicacy (Photos)

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Health benefits of breadfruit
Ukwa is one of the most consumed local delicacies of the Eastern part of Nigeria. It is also called Breadfruit. It is highly proteinous in nature. The breadfruit tree belongs to the Mulberry family Moraceae. It is closely related to the other tropical fruits such as jackfruit, breadnut, figs, and mulberries.
Nutrients in Breadfruit
The fruit has moderate levels of essential vitamins, and minerals. Like other tropical delicacies, it is rich in many vital B-complex groups of vitamins. The fruit is a moderate source of vitamins, especially thiamin, pyridoxine, and niacin.
Fresh fruit is an excellent source of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Its pulp is good in copper, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Breadfruit seeds contain average levels of protein; 100 g seeds provide 7.4 g or 13% of daily-recommended values. However, they are excellent sources of minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, manganese, etc.


Health Benefits of Breadfruit

1. Breadfruit is rich in fiber. The fiber content of the vegetable provides a person relief suffering from diabetes (1). Researches made on this vegetable have established that regular intake of breadfruit can reduce the risk of diabetes and keeps the same under control. It does so by reducing the absorption of sugar by human body from the food.

2. For being rich in fiber,
breadfruit is also an excellent energy booster. It gives the fullness of eating without increasing the calorie intake. Therefore, a person feels energetic and active for after eating breadfruit. This vegetable is also good at reducing the risk of heart disorder and cholesterol problems. Studies have shown that breadfruit helps to reduce the bad cholesterol while inducing the amount of good cholesterol in the body (2).
3. Breadfruit is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Besides being beneficial for skin and hair, these two essential fatty acids are quite good for maintaining a healthy heart. Omega-3 fatty acid is also essential for the growth of brain and mind. Experts have commented that regular intake of breadfruit can help a growing child in the development of brain to great extent .
4. Regular intake of breadfruit is beneficial for proper bowel movement and intestine functionalism . The fiber present in breadfruit again helps to pass stool and also drains out toxins from the intestine.
5. Breadfruit is considered an ideal diet food as well. For people suffering from overweight, breadfruit is the best option. This great to taste food is good for an overweight person, as it contains less calories and high fiber amounts. The fiber in breadfruit is truly a multi-tusker, as it helps to fight with the body fats and cellulites.
Skin Benefits of Breadfruit
6. Apart from the various health benefits that breadfruit provides to all, it has some skin benefits as well. The vegetable is stuffed with a lot of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are both considered excellent for the skin. In addition, it is also a rich source of vitamin C, which is considered excellent for skin health (6).
7. Regular consumption of this food makes skin healthy from both outside and inside. Recent studies have established that antioxidants present in breadfruit are good for preventing skin infections and rashes. It is good to eat breadfruit for enhancing skin tone as well. A person would surely enjoy smooth and shining skin by eating breadfruit in the adequate amount.
Breadfruit Benefits for Hair:
8. Breadfruit is an excellent source of most important vitamins and minerals. For being so, it makes a healthy choice for the hair health too. Again, the omega- and 6 fatty acids prove to be great for the hair follicles .
9. Regular intake of breadfruit strengthens hair roots and stimulates hair growth. The vegetable is a very good option for one who looks for healthy and thick hair.
10. Breadfruit prevents hair disorders such as dandruff effectively (9). Concisely, it is an excellent natural treatment for hair thinning.
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GOOD POINTS Low in saturated fat
No cholesterol
Very low in sodium
No sugar
High in dietary fibre
High in niacin
High in potassium
High in thiam
Ukwa is such a versatile food with a natural delicious flavour. It can be cooked plain without any ingredient, not even salt and it will taste great especially when prepared with fresh Ukwa. It can be roasted and eaten with coconut or palm kernel. It can also be prepared as a porridge.
Ingredients
700g African Breadfruit
2 medium dry fish
2 small stock cubes(Optional)
7g edible potash
Palm oil (as desired)
5-6 fresh bitter leaves
Pepper & Sea Salt (to taste)
Common additions to Breadfruit Porridge:
Corn/Maize, you can also use sweet corn however, it is advised you cook it plain if you are diabetic
Notes about the ingredients
Freshly peeled ukwa or dried ukwa can be used for this recipe.
You can use stock fish instead of dry fish or both.
By fresh bitter leaves I mean bitter leaves that have NOT been washed and squeezed. Wash it at least 2 times. changing the water to reduce the bitterness
Always small palm oil to make your Nigerian meals look appetizing.
Edible potash acts as food tenderizer. Only a very small quantity should be used. If you are lucky to buy freshly dehusked ukwa seeds from the same tree, you will not need to use the food tenderiser. I do not know any alternative to edible potash.
Before you cook the Ukwa
If using dry ukwa, soak it overnight in plenty of cold water. If using fresh ukwa, skip this step.
The next day, soak, debone and wash the dry fish or stock fish and break into pieces.
Wash the ukwa thoroughly in cold water. Stones and sand usually settle at the bottom so watch out for those.
Pound the pepper.
Rinse the bitter leaves and set aside.
Cooking Directions
Put the thoroughly washed ukwa in a sizeable pot.
Pour enough water to cover the ukwa. The level of water should be about 1 inch above the level of the ukwa. Allow to cook for at least 25 minutes and then
Add the edible potash. Add the dry fish or stock fish, cover the pot and cook till well done. The ukwa is done when the seeds melt when pressed. You may need to top up the water while cooking so watch it closely. If using a pressure pot, top ups will not be necessary.
Add enough palm oil to the well done ukwa, add pepper,(fresh cayenne pepper mixed with a little dried black is always my choice) with Sea salt to taste.
Stir. Cover and cook on medium heat till the palm oil changes colour from red to yellow. This should take about 5 minutes.
Stir and add the bitter leaves.
Cover and leave to simmer or till the leaves wilt but still green and the ukwa is ready to be served.
Sources: www.nutrition and you.com/breadfruit
www.stylcraze.com
www.allnigerianrecipes.com/beans/breadfruit

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