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  1. #1
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    Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Jackfruit is a huge fruit with a very distinct smell. Though it may not be the most striking fruit on the outside, it is, however, very sweet on the inside.

    Jackfruit (artocarpus heterophyllus) is also known as jaca, jak-fruit, or jak. It was first called by the Portuguese 'jaca fruit' thus the present name (jackfruit). However, in Malaysia and the Philippines, the fruit is called "nangka". And in Thailand it is called "khanun". The fruit was first introduced to Jamaica in 1782 after one of the plants was captured from a French ship destined for Martinique by Lord Rodney's fleet.

    Medicinal uses
    1. In general, fresh jackfruit seeds are considered to be high in starch, low in calcium and iron and good sources of vitamins B1 and B2.
    2. The Chinese consider jackfruit pulp and seeds, nutritious, and useful in overcoming the influence of alcohol on the system.
    3. The ash of jackfruit leaves, burned with corn and coconut shells, is used alone or mixed with coconut oil to heal ulcers.
    4. Mixed with vinegar, the latex promotes healing of abscesses, snakebites and glandular swellings.
    5. The root is a remedy for skin diseases and asthma. An extract of the root is taken in cases of fever and diarrhoea.
    6. Heated leaves are placed on wounds. The wood has a sedative property; its pith is said to produce an abortion.

  2. #2
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Cassava or Yucca (also known as manioc and is used to make tapioca) can help prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer, prevent cataracts, and help keep skin smooth. While cassava is not well known in the US it is the world's number two vegetable crop, after potatoes. Cassava is uniquely laden with iron plus vitamin C which you need to help your body to absorb iron. It is also a good source of magnesium which helps to protect your heart, bones, arteries and blood pressure. A half cup of cooked cassava contains 13 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for women and 30 percent for men. And because it also contains 35 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, the iron in cassava is much easier to absorb.

  3. #3
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    You could say that Callaloo, a leafy vegetable, plays a role in the Jamaican diet that is similar to the role Spinach plays in the American diet. But that would understate the importance of callaloo in the Jamaican diet. And those who have had both agree callaloo has more going for it than spinach. Steamed callaloo is often served with breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is cooked with codfish and used in soups. And it is used increasingly in non-traditional Jamaican dishes such as quiche and omelets etc.

    Callaloo is rich in nutrients including : iron and other minerals, vitamin C, flavonoids and other phytochemicals, calcium, and vitamin A. Callaloo has over four times the calcium, over two times the iron, and over two times the vitamin A compared to broccoli and other vegetables.

    Admittedly, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, like other vegetables will provide vitamin C, minerals, flavonoids and other phytochemicals but they are no match for our local callaloo (amaranth) in terms of calcium, iron or vitamin A. Callaloo has more than four times the calcium, two or more times the iron with more than twice the vitamin A as the American vegetables.

  4. #4
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Forget what you have heard about this main staple of the Jamaican diet. Coconut oil is, "rich in lauric acid, "which new research shows raises good type HDL cholesterol, lowering heart disease risk, Lauric acid is also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiviral, says lipid researcher Mary Enig, Ph.D., which also may help fight heart disease."

    Cranberry juice has become very popular because of its benefits to bladder health. But have you thought that similar benefits could be had from coconut water at less than half the calories and with appreciably more potassium? A glass of cranberry juice will provide 150 to 200 calories while the same glass of coconut water contains only 50 calories while giving 400 mg potassium compared to the 60 mg for cranberry juice.

    For those concerned about the sodium content of coconut water, be assured that a single glass will provide only 60 mg sodium compared to the 700 mg in a V8 canned vegetable juice. Also, coconut water has no fat. The fat of the coconut resides in the jelly and will thus be found in coconut milk, but there is no cholesterol since the coconut is of plant origin and cholesterol is found, only in foods of animal origin. This means that butter will have cholesterol but coconut milk, like the vegetable margarines, is free of cholesterol. Moreover, the traditional way of cooking with coconut milk for flavour is better that using margarine which is often substituted in porridge, rice and peas and soups. A tablespoon of coconut milk has only 38 calories and 4 g fat compared to 111 calories in the same amount of margarine and 11.5 g fat. Also, the fat of coconut is healthier for the body than margarine fats.

  5. #5
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Plantains can help lower blood pressure, prevent and treat ulcers, prevent constipation, decrease the risk of hear disease. While plantains look like large bananas they are as different as apples and oranges. Unlike bananas, plantains need to be cooked before they are eaten. Plantains also pack different nutrients. Ounce for ounce, plantains contain more potassium than bananas. That means a plateful of plantains will reduce high blood pressure. One cup of cooked plantains contain 716 milligrams of or 20 percent of the daily value of potassium. And potassium is well established as a key mineral for heart disease prevention. Studies show people whose diets are low in potassium are at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. A cup of cooked plantains provide about 49 milligrams of magnesium, or more than 12 percent of the daily value. Magnesium is another mineral that can help lower blood pressure, especially among people who are sensitive to sodium. Therefore, next time you are at your favorite Jamaican eatery, load up on those plantains. (Source: The Doctors Book of Food Remedies, 1998 Rodale Inc.)

    Nutritional Value: Plantain is relatively high in calories at 125 per cup. It is an excellent source of potassium, a good source of vitamin C, contains no cholesterol and is low in sodium. One cup cooked plantain yields a trace of fat, 2.3 g dietary fiber, 465 mg potassium, 26 mcg folate, 10.9 mg vitamin C, 909 IU vitamin A, 32 mg magnesium, and 31.1 g carbohydrates.

  6. #6
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Who has not heard the adage, 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away?' This is probably because the American apple has fibre to facilitate gut health and rid the body of waste. But do you know that one guava fruit has four times the amount of fibre, slightly more potassium and 19 times the amount of vitamin C as an American apple? In comparison to a whole bunch of grapes, one guava has 25 times more vitamin C, four times more fibre and about the same potassium.

    Nutritive Values
    (per 100g edible portion)
    Energy 51.0k cal
    Protein 0.9g
    Fat .3g
    Carbohydrates 11.2g
    Calcium 10.0mg
    Phosphorus 28.0mg
    Iron 1.4mg
    Thiamine 30.0ug
    Riboflavin 30.0ug
    Vit. C 212.0mg




    Likewise, it would take 15 American apples to supply the vitamin C content of only one West Indian cherry.

  7. #7
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Recent studies done in the Biochemistry Department at UWI, Mona on the fatty acid composition of the arilli from ackee have found that 51-58% of the arillus dry weight consists of lipids. Linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids were the major fatty acids observed with linoleic accounting for over 55% of the total fatty acids. These results show that the purified oil from ackee has high nutritive value and makes an important contribution to the fatty acid intake of many Jamaicans.

    According to CFNI's "Food Composition Tables for the English-speaking Caribbean" (1998) the contents of a 100g serving of "Ackee, canned, drained" are as follows: Water (76.7 g), Energy (625 kJ or 151 kcal), Protein (2.9 g), Fat (15.2 g), Saturated fat (0 g) Cholesterol (0 mg), Total carbohydrate (0.8 g), Dietary fibre (2.7 g), Calcium (35 mg), Iron (0.7 mg), Potassium (270 mg), Sodium (240 mg), Zinc (1 mg), vit A -, thiamin (0.03 mg), riboflavin (0.07 mg), niacin (1.1 mg), total folacin (41 microgram), vit C (30 mg).

    Medicinal Uses: In Brazil, repeated small doses of an aqueous extract of the seed has been administered to expel parasites. The treatment is followed by a saline or oily purative. Cubans blend the ripe arils with sugar and cinnamon and give the mixture as a febrifuge and as a treatment for dysentery. On the Ivory Coast, the bark is mixed with pungent spices in an ointment applied to relieve pain. The crushed new foliage is applied on the forehead to relieve severe headache. The leaves, crushed with salt, are poulticed on ulcers. The leaf juice is employed as eye drops in ophthalmia and conjunctivitis. In Colombia, the leaves and bark are considered stomachic. Various preparations are made for treatment of epilepsy and yellow fever.

  8. #8
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods

    Wonderful information BlackStar! Keep it coming!!
    If you don't fight for what you deserve, you deserve what you get.
    We are > Fossil Fuels --- Bill McKibben 350.org

  9. #9
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods

    I'm so enjoying all the information on Jamaican foods! Good stuff, thank you!
    Live each day, each moment to the fullest with your whole attention..

  10. #10
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Otaheite apple
    Medicinal Uses: According to Akana's translation of Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value, the astringent bark has been much used in local remedies. It is pounded together with salt, the crushed material is strained through coconut husk fiber, and the juice poured into a deep cut. "The patient must exercise absolute self-control as the liquid bums its way into the flesh and nerves."

    In the Molucca, or Spice, Islands, a decoction of the bark is used to treat thrush. Malayans apply a powder of the dried leaves on a cracked tongue. A preparation of the root is a remedy for itching. The root acts as a diuretic and is given to alleviate edema. The root bark is useful against dysentery, also serves as an emmenagogue and abortifacient. Cambodians take a decoction of the fruit, leaves or seeds as a febrifuge. The juice of crushed leaves is applied as a skin lotion and is added to baths. In Brazil, various parts of the plant are used as remedies for constipation, diabetes, coughs, pulmonary catarrh, headache and other ailments. Seeded fruits, seeds, bark and leaves have shown antibiotic activity and have some effect on blood pressure and respiration.

    Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
    Moisture 90.3-91.6 g
    Protein 0.5-0.7 g
    Fat 0.1-0.2 g
    Fiber 0.6-0.8 g
    Ash 0.26-0.39 g
    Calcium 5.6-5.9 mg
    Phosphorus 11.6-17.9 mg
    Iron 0.2-0.82 mg
    Carotene 0.003-0.008 mg
    (Vitamin A) 3-10 I.U.
    Thiamine 15-39 mcg
    Riboflavin 20-39 mcg
    Niacin 0.21-0.40 mg
    Ascorbic Acid 6.5-17.0 mg

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