Jackfruit has been the subject of many pregnancy myths. In countries where it’s frequently eaten, some of these myths are generations old and are still being passed on (including on the internet). Jackfruit is becoming popular worldwide as a meat substitute and in vegan cuisine, so pregnant women are quite rightly wondering whether it’s good or bad. It’s time to set the record straight on jackfruit!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Jackfruit? Jackfruit flesh is safe for pregnant women to eat in almost all its forms, including unripe, young jackfruit (which often comes canned). Jackfruit seeds are also safe for pregnant women to eat if they’re cooked, and not raw.
How jackfruit is prepared and served varies from country to country, so in this article. I’ve broken down all the ways of eating jackfruit and its benefits (or cautions) in pregnancy.
Does Jackfruit Cause Miscarriage?
Let’s get the biggest myth out of the way first. No, jackfruit does not cause miscarriage. You can eat it in early pregnancy, in the first trimester and beyond.
This myth seems to have originated in India, where incorrect ‘food taboos’ about jackfruit and other fruits are passed on through generations, particularly in rural villages (source: Journal of Family Medicine / NCBI).
A similar myth is that some foods are ‘hot’ or ‘cold’; not in reference to their cooking temperature but their perceived effect on the body. Jackfruit is said to be a ‘heat-producing’ fruit that should be avoided by pregnant women. This is also a myth prevalent in India, along with other untrue food taboos (sources: Indian Journal of Community Medicine, Healthline Journal).
Unfortunately, both myths – about jackfruit causing miscarriage and jackfruit being ‘heat-producing’ – can still be found all over the internet. Neither is true. Pregnant women can safely eat jackfruit. The only reason to avoid it is if you may be allergic to it; covered below.
Is Jackfruit Good or Bad For Pregnant Women?
Now that you’re aware that jackfruit is safe to eat, you’re probably wondering: What are the benefits of jackfruit for pregnancy? Is it healthy? It’s got the word ‘fruit’ in, right?
Here, I’ve listed the benefits, but also the drawbacks of eating jackfruit:
The Benefits of Jackfruit in Pregnancy
Jackfruit is a good source of vitamin C, antioxidants, vitamin A, and has more B vitamins than many other fruits (source: WebMD). It also contains niacin, potassium and magnesium.
Jackfruit also has a good amount of fiber and has more protein than is typical in many other tropical fruits (source: Nutrition Data). It has a low GI index, which may be useful to know if you have gestational diabetes and have to control your blood sugar (source: Healthline).
Jackfruit seeds are also edible and contain many vitamins and nutrients, so long as they’re cooked. They are high in fiber and antioxidants and are a source of B vitamins (source: Purdue).
How jackfruit is served can have an impact on its nutritional value – common dishes and ways of serving it are covered later in this article.
When to Avoid Jackfruit (and Jackfruit Seeds) in Pregnancy
Although jackfruit has many benefits (listed above), if you have certain medical conditions you may need to avoid eating jackfruit or its seeds when you’re pregnant. There are also parts of the fruit that need to be treated differently.
- Jackfruit seeds must be eaten cooked, and not raw. Uncooked jackfruit seeds contain trypsin inhibitors, which slow down or inhibit protein digestion in the body (source: Science Direct). Cooked jackfruit seeds are safe to eat. They’re often boiled or roasted/toasted, which makes them safe to eat.
- Jackfruit seeds may inhibit blood clotting. If you are taking medicine that increases your risk of bleeding (such as anticoagulants, painkillers such as ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, aspirin or antiplatelet medicine), you should avoid eating jackfruit seeds. One study showed that jackfruit may slow blood clotting (source: CR Journal of Food Science).
- If you are allergic to birch pollen, you should avoid jackfruit. There has been one medically documented case of jackfruit causing an allergic reaction in an individual who was allergic to birch pollen (source: PubMed). Until more research is carried out, it may be best to avoid jackfruit if you know you are allergic to birch pollen.
- If you are allergic to latex, you should avoid jackfruit. There has been one documented case (source: PubMed) of anaphylaxis caused by jackfruit, in a woman who was allergic to latex. Jackfruit flesh is covered in a sticky, latex-like substance and small amount may remain after it has been prepared. This is usually of no concern to people who do not have latex allergies.
Jackfruit Dishes and Their Pregnancy-Safety
Jackfruit is prepared in many ways, and you might specifically want to know about certain jackfruit dishes and whether they’re safe to eat or not if you’re pregnant. The most common are listed here.
- Jackfruit Curry – jackfruit curry is safe for pregnant women, if the other ingredients in the curry are safe for pregnant women (on the whole, they usually are, as it’s fully cooked). Spicy food is not harmful in pregnancy, but may cause indigestion – something you might be more prone to if you’re pregnant, so choose less spicy versions if this applies to you.
- Canned or tinned jackfruit – jackfruit often comes canned, since it’s quite labor-intensive to prepare (and hard to get hold of fresh, if you’re outside its main growing areas). Canned jackfruit is fine for pregnant women to eat, and it’s usually cooked unripe, young jackfruit that is in the can.
- Young / Raw / Unripe / Uncooked jackfruit – Jackfruit flesh can be eaten at varying stages of ripeness. When unripe, it’s used as a meat substitute (e.g. pulled jackfruit), popular in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Unripe or young jackfruit is OK to eat when you’re pregnant, as is ripe jackfruit. You can eat jackfruit raw if you want, but it’s usually cooked (e.g. in a curry).
- Jackfruit Chips or deep-fried jackfruit are both safe in pregnancy. Frying jackfruit can add to the calorie content though, so nutrition-wise, it’s healthier to eat it baked, boiled or roasted.
- Jackfruit seeds are safe for pregnant women to eat if they are cooked (e.g. by roasting, toasting or boiling). Pregnant women (and others) should avoid uncooked or raw jackfruit seeds, as listed above.
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