Have you ever heard of this healthy alternative to flour?

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Have you ever heard of this healthy alternative to flour?


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Breadfruit trees were originally found in Polynesia. People use fruit to cook, roast, or fry the product, similar to the way potatoes are used. Others dry the meat and grind it into flour to make bread and crusts. The Polynesians brought the trees to Hawaii, when anthropologists believe it was colonized 1,000 years before Columbus landed in the Western world.

When European explorers arrived in the western world in the late 1700s, Polynesian settlers had established an agricultural system that supported hundreds of thousands of people.

Learn more about Breadfruit

A breadfruit tree thrives in a Caribbean or tropical climate and can grow up to 85 feet tall, producing up to 200 fruits a year. The fruit is round, oval or oblong and can grow as large or larger than a basketball. The outer skin is neon green and covered with bumps, which hides the firm flesh that people cook like potatoes or bananas.

A single loaf of bread bears enough fruit to feed a family of four. When the fruit is ripe, the inside is creamy white or yellow and soft. Although it is a fruit, it is treated and cooked more like a vegetable. The texture and taste is similar to a potato, a piece of bread or a heart of artichoke, depending on the ripeness of the fruit and how it is prepared.

Because the taste is mild, it lends itself to culinary creativity. As the bread ripens, it becomes sweeter, but it never comes close to the sweetness of a papaya or mango. The British are credited with spreading outside of Polynesia.

Captain James Cook and the botanist Sir Joseph Banks discovered the fruit of bread in Tahiti and believed it could be the answer to the British food challenges of the time. The first time the trees were exported to the West Indies, the expedition was led by Lieutenant William Bligh of the infamous HMS Bounty.

On the way to the West Indies from Tahiti, the lieutenant and crew members were thrown into a small boat and all the breadfruit plants were thrown overboard. After returning to England, Lieutenant Bligh was promoted to captain and led another expedition to Tahiti in 1791, during which he successfully brought bread plants to the Caribbean and Jamaica.

Although the plants thrived, people did not enjoy the food and only ate it when needed. Breadfruit is currently grown in more tropical areas of Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, and South America. Trees can also be found in the United States in Hawaii and South Florida.

Fruit, which is full of nutrients, is a staple food in Hawaii. Bread fruit meat is high in antioxidants, calcium, carotenoids and fiber. It also contains copper, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus and protein. Interestingly, even though it is a fruit, a cup provides 5% of the RDA for protein, 14% for magnesium, and 31% for potassium.

Fried bread fruit or Sukun goreng served with spicy soy sauce called sambal kicap. By BELIMBINGperak / Shutterstock

Could breadfruit be the next superfood?

Although it has been a staple food for centuries, there has been a clear lack of scientific evidence to demonstrate the health impacts of bread fruit. In a recent study from the University of British Columbia, scientists analyzed the flour made from breadfruit. The objectives were to identify any health problems associated with bread flour, considering it as a sustainable food source and establishing it as a functional food.

In the lab, using an enzymatic digestion model, they found that breadfruit protein was easier to digest than wheat protein. The cytotoxicity of the digested flour was tested by applying it to caco-2 cells. These cell lines are used to analyze the permeability of drugs and have been used for the past two decades “as a model of intestinal barrier,” according to researchers in Italy.

The researchers found no difference between wheat and breadfruit in terms of cytokines and immune factors. When wheat was replaced by bread-based fruit eating in a mouse diet, they found that there were no signs of disease, death, or malnutrition related to the change. The main bacteria and histology of the ileum were similar between bread-fed mice and wheat-fed mice.

The researchers concluded: “No adverse health results were observed in in vitro or in vivo model studies and bread flour is a healthy alternative to other starches for modern foods.”

The combination of scientific evidence and the knowledge that the breadfruit tree is highly productive and easy to grow can provide health benefits and address food shortages worldwide. Susan Murch, Ph.D., is a professor of chemistry and one of the study’s researchers. She said:

“Breadfruit is a traditional basic crop in the Pacific Islands with the potential to improve global food security and alleviate diabetes. Although people have survived for thousands of years, there was a lack of basic scientific knowledge. on the health impacts of a bread-based diet on both humans and animals. “

PhD student Ying Liu shared:

“Overall, these studies support the use of breadfruit as part of a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet. Breadmeal flour is a complete, gluten-free, low-glycemic protein option. , dense in nutrients and for modern foods “.

The impact that grains have on health

There is the possibility of substituting wheat flour for bread flour in breads and baked crusts. Although bread fruit flour is gluten-free, wheat products are not. In past years, only people with allergies to wheat and celiacs were looking for gluten-free products. After a gluten-free diet, they often reported a resurgence of good health.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat grains and cereals. When these proteins are in contact with water, they form an elastic bond that gives bread the ability to maintain its shape. Gluten can also be found in barley, oats, rye and spelled and can be hidden in processed foods with a variety of names, such as malt or natural aroma.

In addition, professionals at the Celiac Disease Foundation believe that undiagnosed celiac disease may contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), herpetiform dermatitis (an itchy rash). , anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage …. epilepsy and migraines, short stature and bowel cancers “.

As you can imagine, gluten intolerance can trigger signs of gastrointestinal upset, such as bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Beyond that, you may also experience anxiety, confusion, headache, nausea, or joint and muscle pain. While gluten-free food choices may seem to help people with wheat allergies or celiac disease, it is prudent to approach them with caution.

I think most gluten-free processed and packaged foods are glorified junk foods because they are some of the most ultra-processed foods in the store. They have no fiber, are often loaded with toxic amounts of sugar and salt and include unhealthy fats in their list of ingredients.

Whether you have a gluten sensitivity or not, almost everyone can benefit from eating smaller grains, which are rich in clean carbohydrates. The potential for using breadcrumbs and baked goods can help reduce your gluten and glycemic index of the foods you eat.

Your body needs fiber

The fruit of bread is high in fiber, which is far more important than science had previously thought. In fact, just 1 cup contains 43% of all the fiber you need for the day. A low-fiber diet can alter your gut flora. In a study with an animal model, a low-fiber diet altered the intestinal flora, which was also passed on to offspring.

In some cases, even after the mice were fed high-fiber foods, the gut was unable to repopulate with certain bacteria that had been greatly depleted. Previous studies have confirmed that the human microbiome has changed throughout history, as has the human diet. In general, researchers have found that people who eat more plant-based foods have a more diverse gut microbiome.

The benefits of eating enough fiber include preventing permeable bowel syndrome which also causes anxiety, joint pain, fatigue and bloating. Food Integrity Now explains permeable bowel syndrome in this way:

“The intestinal wall is considered semi-permeable. This means that it only allows certain things to enter the bloodstream and blocks other things from entering the bloodstream. For example, it allows the passage of specific molecules and nutrients, but they are blocked. toxins and large undigested food particles.

When you have a permeable gut, the pores of the small intestine widen and this allows food particles and undigested toxins, which would normally be blocked, to enter the bloodstream. These particles and toxins are not recognized and the immune system goes into attack mode because they are supposed to be not in the blood. In essence, the immune system literally recognizes these undigested particles as dangerous. “

Fiber also has other health benefits. For example, researchers have found an inverse relationship between fiber and heart attack, showing that those who eat a high-fiber diet have a 40% lower risk of heart disease.

As I wrote earlier, fiber can slow down brain inflammation and aging which negatively affect your function. In particular, low-fiber diets can be detrimental to the elderly, as they have a lower ability to produce butyrate, a nutrient that helps slow the aging of the brain.

Sustainable cultivation can affect global health

Breadfruit is a sustainable, high-yield crop that has a low glycemic index and can provide an answer to the growing problem of food shortages worldwide. It is also easy to grow in the right climate. With the rapid arrival of winter in the northern hemisphere, it may be time to think about drastically reducing your food bill by growing an indoor organic garden.

As the cost of organic products increases due to demand and pandemic-related problems, many have begun to start their own gardens and container gardens. If you think autumn is the time to hang up your gardening gloves, you may want to reconsider, as you can pick spinach, beets, and carrots until February. Many herbs and vegetables can be grown indoors with proper lighting.

You will enjoy the benefits of winter gardening, which include savings on your grocery bill and a guarantee that the product you are harvesting is from non-GMO organically grown seeds. Before you dive in, take the time to plan your garden.

Some plants do well with a prolonged growing season, while others are planted in the fall for winter for a spring crop. Others do even better in indoor container gardens. Gardening is good for your health in other ways, as it is an easy way to reduce stress and get some exercise, which we all need.

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