In my travels I have heard people mistake ackee for acai (another powerful superfood), but I thought I'd take a moment to tell you more about the star of our menu. Here's 10 facts:
- HEALTHY FATS-Contrary to myths that ackee is a high-fat food laden with cholesterol, the Department of Biochemistry at the University of the West Indies Mona, has discovered a 58 per cent healthy fat composition of linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids, among other lipids. FACT: Ackee has NO saturated fat or cholesterol.
- FIBER-Ackee has substantial amounts of dietary fiber. In some instances, the fruit can provide up to 11 and 7 per cent of the fiber women and men respectively need daily. Fiber encourages your stomach, intestines and colon to work efficiently. That greatly reduces your risk of becoming constipated, and developing colon ailments such as cancer.
- VITAMINS-Ackee contains adequate doses of Vitamin C, which is required on a daily basis. Vitamin C helps repair cartilage, keeps your skin supple but firm and is crucial nutrient for wholistic oral health. Ackee supplies small amounts of Vitamin B-9 in the form of naturally occurring folates, which can help prevent birth defects and is a recommended supplement for mothers-to-be.
- MINERALS-Ackee also provides trace amounts of calcium and iron. Calcium is an important mineral that improves bone and dental health, and helps to keep the pH-levels in blood in a constant balance. Iron as another important mineral, assists in the formation of the body’s red blood cells, which in turn improves oxygen and nutrient transportation around the body. Other beneficial minerals present in ackee include magnesium, potassium, zinc and sodium.
- TRADITIONAL USE-The leaves of the ackee tree have long been used as medicinal herbs. In the 1800s during the Maafa, ackee leaves were popularly boiled as an herbal remedy for flu, colds as well as mucous congestion. Baking the leaves in hot ashes and using the paste as a poultice, is believed to work wonders on sprains, joint pains and swellings. As a mouthwash, combine the tea with salt and used for pyorrhoea and other gum ailments.
- A recent study by the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that ackee has massive quantities of Vitamin B-3, which occurs naturally as the compound niacin. Niacin is beneficial to the productivity of the gastro-intestinal and nervous systems, and gives a healthy glow to one’s skin, hair and nails.
- Ackee is also rich in Vitamins B-1 and B-2, which occur naturally as thiamine and riboflavin respectively. Thiamine is an important nutrient for the efficiency of the cardiovascular and nervous systems, while riboflavin aids in metabolism and red blood cell production in the bone marrow.
- Ackee has been proven to be a natural, preventative measure against edema, or water retention.
- As part of a wholistic health regimen, the dietary fiber found in ackee can be an easy way to help you lose or maintain your weight, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and Type-2 diabetes.
Yes, so now that you know more about ackee, honor this tropical star. Introduce ackee as a part of your healthy food regimen.
Bake while you sing. Eat well. Enjoy your health!!!