Saturday, March 23, 2019

15 Health Benefits Of The African Breadfruit (Ukwa) And Recipes

Breadfruit porridge (Ukwa)
 The African breadfruit (ukwa) is a very highly nutritious meal commonly eaten by the Igbo people in south eastern Nigeria.

It is also called Afon in Yoruba; Sobo in Ijaw; Ize in Benin and Ediang in Efik.

Studies have shown that breadfruit comes with lots of essential vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene, vitamin c and folic acid (folate). It is also rich in vital B-complex groups of vitamins, thiamine, pyridoxine and niacin.

The African breadfruit can be consumed in cooked form, baked or fried.

The 14 Health Benefits of Breadfruits are:

1. Good for Digestive Health

Breadfruit is one of the top Nigerian foods that is rich in fibre content. Fibre is an essential compound that helps in binding the toxic properties in the intestine, as well as helping to reduce bad cholesterol in the body.

Breadfruit contains a significant amount of active fibre that flushes toxins from the intestine and helps in proper functioning of the intestines and the bowel as well as prevents other diseases associated with digestion such as gastritis, ulcer and others.

2. Helps To Fight Free Radicals

It contains an adequate amount of naturally occurring antioxidants which is capable of fighting free radicals in the body. Breadfruit is a natural source of flavonoid and vitamin C.

This flavonoid functions in the body as an antioxidant that protects the body cells from being attacked by free radicals. Vitamin C on the other hand is an ascorbic acid that contributes in fighting against the operation of these organisms that cause damage to the body cell.

3. Helps in Proper Brain Function

Breadfruit is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which play important role in brain function and growth development.

These are important fatty acids that contribute to the  maintenance of some cellular parts of the human brain; this make makes them important for keeping the brain functioning normally.

Omega 6 also helps to maintain bone health and regulate metabolism health while facilitating the communication between brain cells especially in babies.

4. Good For heart health

The presence of fibre in breadfruit helps to promote the production of good cholesterol, high-density lipo-proteins which carry cholesterol from other parts of the body back to the liver.

Research has shown that the quantity of fibre contained in breadfruit is enough to elevate good cholesterol and at the same time control or rather reduce the production of low-density lipo-proteins, which is the bad cholesterol prone to cause heart problems such as hypertension and stroke.

5. Promotes Hair Growth

The moderate amounts of iron in breadfruit improves blood circulation in the scalp, thereby stimulating the hair follicles to promote hair growth.

6. Helps in Weight Loss

Breadfruit can help in weight loss though it has a high amount of carbohydrate and calories and the presence of dietary fibre in it will help to stop food craving.

If one can add breadfruit as a daily food menu, its fibre content will help to moderate the absorption of glucose from carbohydrate in order not to be absorbed in excess which causes weight gain.

7. Maintain Bone Health

It is a good source of potassium which plays an important role in regulating fluid balance, supporting skeletal movement and muscles contraction as well as conserving calcium in the body thereby helping to minimize urinary calcium loss.

Others minerals include riboflavin, niacin, zinc, manganese, calcium and more. Zinc and magnesium are very essential for bone metabolism while others functions jointly or separately to enhance the bone health in general.

8. Enhances Energy in the Body

Breadfruit is rich in carbohydrate which provides the body with the amount of energy needed for energetic activities as a cup of breadfruit has 60grams of carbohydrate.

Therefore, consuming moderate quantity of this fruit especially the porridge one daily helps to energize the body and make one full without increasing the intake of calories in the body.

9. Repair of Body Tissues and Cell

Breadfruit is an excellent source of minerals such as iron which plays an essential role in blood production. Most percentage of iron found in the body exists in the red blood cells and the muscles cell.

The red blood cell, heamoglobin plays a crucial role in transferring oxygen in human blood from the lungs to the connective tissues.

The fruit also contains phosphorus which helps in the growth and repair of body tissues and cell. Selenium and copper that is present in breadfruit support several biochemical processes and normal cellular functions in the body.

10. Helps in Controlling Diabetes

Breadfruit is a meal recommended for diabetic patients by dieticians because of its function in reducing the risk of diabetes and controlling already existing conditions.

This is because the fibre that is contained in the fruit plays a special role of hindering the absorption of excess intake of glucose from carbohydrate.

Again, the carbohydrates obtained through the consumption of bread fruit are turned into fructose and sucrose instead of glucose which fibre also inhibits the excess of these smaller compounds too.

11. Nourishes the Skin

Breadfruit as a food and a fruit plays very important role on which is not just limited to human health, but also contributes in maintaining beautiful skin.

This is because it contains collagen whose production largely depends on vitamin C which is contained in large quantity in breadfruit.

Collagen provides a healthy skin with the help of high concentration of vitamin C. Therefore, eating moderate quantity of breadfruit produces good amount of collagen which keeps the skin glowing and free from wrinkles.

12. Good for Pregnancy

This fruit contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid in good amount which play vital role i pregnancy.

Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acidfatty are known as polyunsaturated fatty acids that provide support for foetal growth; they are the main building block for foetal retina and neuron development of the foetus.

13. Improves the Immune System

Breadfruit is referred to as immune boosting diet because it has enough content of vitamin C required by human body.

No matter the form which by is been consumed, the health benefits are still there.

It is extremely rich in important dietary fibre that flushes all compounds that could cause harm to the intestine and on the other enhance healthy metabolism.

The nutritional profile of this fruit also counts in fighting the compounds that cause cancerous illnesses because of its richness in antioxidants.

This vitamin C provides all the support and boosting which the immune system needs to defend the body system against certain illnesses or infections.

14. Fight against Colon Cancer

Breadfruit (ukwa) is becoming one of the most consumed fruit especially in its roasted form together with coconut.

15. Reduces Blood Sugar & Inflammation

Breadfruit, whether cooked or roasted, is good for the body, not only is the fruit beneficial to health. The leaves are also medicinal.

Breadfruit leaves are used to relieve inflammation, reduce blood sugar and other related health issues such as hepatitis, enlarged spleen,liver disease, kidney and heart related illnesses.

This is true because the leaves are rich in flavoniod content which is a vital compound that helps to reduce the cholesterol in the blood and treats related illnesses.

Below are some recipes to prepare the African breadfruit as a porridge


4 cups of African Breadfruit
2 medium Dry fish/Stock fish
2 small stock cubes
Edible potash
Palm oil (enough to colour)
Pepper and Salt to taste


1. Put your thoroughly washed ukwa in a pot.

2. Pour enough water to cover the ukwa. The level of water should be about an inch above the level of the ukwa.

3. Add your edible potash. Add the dry/ stock fish, cover the pot and cook till well done.

4. The ukwa is done when the seeds melt when pressed.

5. Add enough palm oil to the ukwa, add pepper, stock cubes and salt to taste.

6. Stir, cover and cook on medium heat till the palm oil changes colour from red to yellow.

7. Cover and leave to simmer for 2mins then turn off the heat.

Your ukwa is ready to be served!


Breadfruit porridge with corn


700g African Breadfruit
2 medium dry fish
2 small stock cubes
1 cup of sweet corn/maize
7g edible potash
Palm oil (enough to colour)
5-6 fresh bitter leaves
Pepper & Salt (to taste)


1. Put the thoroughly washed ukwa in a sizeable pot. 

2. Pour enough water to cover the ukwa. The level of water should be about 1 inch above the level of the ukwa.

3. Add the edible potash. Add the dry/stock fish, cover the pot and cook till well done. The ukwa is done when the seeds melt when pressed. You may need to top up the water while cooking so watch it closely. 

4. Add enough palm oil to the well done ukwa, add pepper, stock cubes and salt to taste.

5. Stir. Cover and cook on medium heat till the palm oil changes colour from red to yellow. This should take about 5 minutes.

6. Stir and add the bitter leaves. 

7. Cover and leave to simmer or till the leaves wilt but still green and the ukwa is ready to be served.

Note: Breadfruit Porridge gets thicker as it cools down so ensure you have enough porridge in the meal when done.

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