Also called afon in Yoruba; ize in Benin, Jekri, and Sobo in Ijaw; and ediang in Efik, ukwa is the seed of the African breadfruit “Treculia Africana” is similar to the breadfruit eaten in the Caribbean and South Pacific, but a bit different.
The African counterpart is much larger growing as large as watermelons and weighing 10 or more pounds. Also, it is not sought after for its “meat” but rather for its seeds.
To extract the seeds from the fruit, the fruits are allowed to ripen and fall from the large trees in which they grow on. The fruits are then allowed to rot, and machetes used to crack open the fruit or sometimes the fruit is even thrown on large rocks.
The seeds are typically roasted and eaten or can be boiled to soften them making a sort of porridge. African breadfruit can also be made into refreshing drinks as well as cakes, snacks, and cookies.
Studies have shown that breadfruit comes with lots of essential vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene, vitamin c, and folic acid (folate). Like other tropical delicacies, Ukwa it is rich in vital B-complex groups of vitamins, thiamin, pyridoxine, and niacin.
100g serving or 3.5oz there ukwa is composed of about 10% fat primarily unsaturated fat (the good fat), 12-15% protein, 25% carbohydrates with 2% fiber and with only about 240 kcal in this serving amount, it is a good option for individuals with diabetes.
Here are other nutritional and health benefits of African Breadfruit
It Is Heart Friendly
Breadfruit is an excellent source of potassium, thus heart friendly. The nutrients in ukwa reduces blood pressure in the body and regulates the heart rate by minimizing the effects of sodium.
Dietary fiber helps reduce cholesterol by preventing its absorption in the gut. It lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) while elevating good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. It decreases the triglyceride levels, which is one of the main causes of heart attacks.
Rich In Omega And 3 Fatty Acids
Breadfruit contains high amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are vital for the proper development of the mind and body.
The high amount of Vitamin C in breadfruit helps in the production of collagen, a protein which provides elasticity to the skin.
Source of Energy
Asides containing a great amount of protein, ukwa is an excellent energy-giving food also. The African breadfruit is composed of about 10% fat primarily unsaturated fat (the good fat), 12-15% protein, 25% carbohydrates with 2% fiber. It is very beneficial for athletes and gym goers as a pre or post-workout meal.
Promotes Hair Growth
The moderate amounts of iron in breadfruit improve blood circulation in the scalp, stimulating the hair follicles to promote hair growth.
Treats Dandruff, Itchiness & Hair Breakage
Asides promoting hair growth, breadfruits also helps in reducing hair breakage.
The omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, breadfruit naturally helps condition the hair, reducing hair breakage. The fatty acids present in breadfruit also regulate the sebum production in the scalp, reducing dandruff and itchiness.
It also inhibits scalp inflammation and cell death, preventing hair loss even while it works on your brain health. You will agree with me that the brain requires adequate amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for nervous health.
Boosts the Body’s Immunity
Eating fruit from the breadfruit tree can also help your immune system to function well. For example, because inflammation is at the root of most diseases, the presence of anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids in breadfruit is especially important to reducing your risk of disease. (8)
These peculiar fruits also contain a fairly large quantity of thiamine, aka vitamin B1. Thiamine is part of what maintains muscle tone along the walls of the digestive tract, where the majority of the immune system is located. It also assists in the secretion of hydrochloric acid, helping your body fully digest food and absorb the highest amount of nutrients possible. Together, these features make thiamine a valuable nutrient in maintaining a healthy immune system.