Ackee fruit has its origin in West Africa especially in Mali, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. It is also known as achee apple. This fruit found its way to Jamaica with most reports highlighting that it might have been imported from West Africa during the famous slaves trade. The ackee tree is about 10m tall when fully mature with ever green leaves, short trunk and a huge crown. The tree generates flowers that are unisexual during the warm months with each flower having five petals that are green in color. The flowers have a fragrance that makes them unique. The fruit bears a pear shape, green in color while turning yellow-orange when completely ripe. The fruit has three large seeds that are black and shinny. Once the fruit is fully ripe, it splits into two equal halves revealing the fleshy spongy, creamy and soft inner part which is normally yellow white in color.
Nutritional value of Ackee
The fruit from ackee tree contains different nutrients that are helpful to the body. The fruit is rich in the following nutrients;
- Fatty acids- Linoleic, palmitic and stearic
- Omega 6 oil
- Vitamins- vitamin A and vitamin C
- Dietary fiber
How to use fruit from ackee tree
This fruit can be used in different ways both for consumption and for other uses. It can be used in the following ways;
- It can be picked when ripe and served on table with food.
- The fruit can be boiled with salt and sea food such as cod fish with oil and served as a complete meal.
- The fleshy inner part can be smashed to make pudding.
- The skin of the fruit is a natural soap for cleaning clothes.
Health benefits of ackee fruit
Due to the nutritional value in ackee fruit, its consumption brings about numerous health benefits in the body. These benefits include;
- Strengthening of bones
This fruit is essential for strengthening of bones especially in children as they grow, the elderly and those weakened by ailments. This is because of high contents of phosphorous, calcium and zinc.
- Enhances digestion
The fruit enhances digestion due to high dietary fiber that helps in clearing the digestive system. This makes the fruit a natural remedy for easing constipation.
- Cardiovascular diseases
The fruit prevents and controls cardiovascular ailments such as hypertension and other heart related ailments. The fruit contains minerals such as potassium that controls blood circulation in and out of the heart hence a good natural remedy for management of hypertension.
- Weight loss
The fruit enhances weight loss when it is consumed. This is because it does not contain calories and cholesterol that favors weight gain. This makes the fruit a good replacement for fruits in the diet for those on diet.
Ackee fruit should only be consumed when completely ripe. This is because before ripening, the fruit is toxic and may lead to harm in the body when consumed. Therefore, one should wait till when the fruit splits into two an indication that it is fully ripe and ready to be consumed.