Ackee belongs to the soapberry family, similar to lychee and the longan. Its scientific name is Blighia Sapida, while some people know it by the names of achee, akee apple, and ayee. In this article, we will discuss the nutrition facts of Ackee as well as its health benefits. However, first before taking a look a the nutrients of Ackee, let’s explore some history. Ackee is native to West Africa. However, now, it’s common in the Caribbean, Florida, and Hawaii. Its Scientific name is kept after Captain William Bligh, who brought this fruit to the Royal Botanic Gardens of England from Jamaica in 1793. Meanwhile, its English name is derived from the West African word “Akan,” which is taken from the African word “akye fufo.”
Coming on to the structure of Ackee, it looks somewhat similar to a pear. It’s usually green when it’s unripe and turns bright red to yellow-orange when fully ripened. It has three black colored seeds that are surrounded by a yellow-colored flesh called aril. It has a nut-like flavor and the texture of the scrambled egg. The fruit weighs about 100-200g, which is equal to 3.5-7.1 oz. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Nutrition Value and Health Benefits of Ackee.
Ackee Nutrition Facts:
Coming up to its nutrition facts and values, Ackee is full of healthy nutrients. According to CFNI, One Hundred Grams of this fruit contains 151 kcal energy, 2.9g Protein, 15.2g Fat, 0.8g carbohydrate, 2.7g Dietary Fiber, and 0mg Cholesterol. Talking about minerals, it has 35mg Calcium, 0.7mg Iron, 270mg Potassium, 240mg Sodium, and 1mg Zinc. In terms of vitamins, it contains 0.03mg Thiamine, 0.07mg Riboflavin, 1.1mg Niacin, 41mcg Folacin, and 30mg VC.
Ackee Health Benefits:
Ackee is a blessing in disguise as it has several astonishing Health Benefits. These benefits include:
1- Resolve Digestive Problems:
It’s rich in fiber, which helps in the digestion of food by adding bulk to the food. This property helps in regulating bowel elimination and accelerates stool movement through the intestine. So, Ackee helps in lowering the risk of bloating, constipation, cramping, and inflammation of the colon.
2- Lowers Blood Pressure:
Ackee is rich in Potassium as it contains 270 mg of potassium per100g. The primary function of Potassium is to dilate the blood vessels. It reduces the chance of atherosclerosis as atherosclerosis can damage the blood vessel. Furthermore, it reduces the stress of the Cardiovascular system. Some studies indicate that it may lower the bad cholesterol level, which can improve heart health.
3- Improves Blood Circulation:
Besides lowering blood pressure, Ackee is also rich in iron. Iron transports oxygen in red blood cells, which improves the blood circulation system. Even a slight deficiency in iron levels can lead to anemia and other symptoms like weakness, light-headed, and cognitive issues.
4- Strengthen Immune system:
One of the main use of Ackee is its ability to boost up the immune system of the human body as it contains a large amount of vitamin C. Vitamin is vital for protecting the body from multiple diseases.
5- Source of Protein:
Protein is necessary for the body as it is one of the major sources of energy along with carbohydrates and fats. It is essential for enzyme structure, muscle tissue production, antibodies, and many other vital aspects of our body. It is not that Ackee contains a high amount of protein. However, it is the only fruit that provides this much protein.
6- Strengthen Bones:
Ackee is full of several vital minerals, namely Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, and Zinc. All of these minerals help in building bone structure and prevents bone loss through demineralization. Most importantly, it can eventually stop or reverse the effect of osteoporosis.
Although Ackee is delicious and full of Nutrition, it can be deadly if you consume it in unripe form. Eating it in unripe form can cause Jamaican Vomiting Sickness. Jamaican Vomiting Sickness can cause low blood sugar, vomiting, weakness, and in worse condition, it can cause coma or death. It’s because unripe Ackee contains two types of toxins, namely Hypoglycin A and Hypoglycin B.
How to consume Ackee?
Ackee can be only be consumed when it is fully ripened. Its ripened form is yellowish-orange in color, and its pod pops up, showing three black seeds that ensure that the fruit is fully matured and is safe to consume. Furthermore, it is boiled to remove all of its toxicity.
All in all, Ackee is full of Nutrition and bears several health benefits if you consume it in its ripen form. However, it can be toxic and life-threatening if you consume it in unripe form. So, only consume Ackee when it’s fully ripe to get the benefits from its nutrients.