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Monday, August 5

Love of Breadfruit

Butterflies on breadfruit

The breadfruit (local name: Bwapen) is a staple of the St. Lucian diet. Traditionally, hearty meals of roasted or boiled breadfruit with a choice of salted fish, roasted sardines or smoked herring were featured meals. With store branded starch products such as macaroni, spaghetti, and rice available on the market, persons have acquired new tastes. Culinary creativity has led to new recipes such as baked breadfruit pies which would appeal to the palate of the youth in particular. In recent discussions on food scarcity the breadfruit has been identified as one of the crops for food and nutrition security in the Caribbean. There has been a thrust to develop the breadfruit through the use of food technology. Breadfruit flour is an example of the value added products developed. The following are some reasons not to discount the breadfruit:

The breadfruit is an essential part of a healthy diet as rich source of dietary fibre. Fibre is required by the body for various functions. It regulates the  movement of the gastrointestinal tract. The carbohydrate content of breadfruit provides energy. In medical studies, fibre has been linked to decreased risk of heart attacks by lowering bad cholesterol levels in the body while increasing good cholesterol levels in the body.

Breadfruit also protects against against heart disease as it is a good source of Vitamin C. The benefits of this vitamin in maintaining the immune system is especially appreciated when one has a cold/flu. Vitamin C is also known for its antioxidant properties, blocking the damage caused by free radicals. The accumulation of free radicals in the body have been linked to the aging process and non-communicable health conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
Further, breadfruit also contains B-complex vitamins which contribute to general good health. The B vitamins aid in assisting the energy from the food we eat, generates new cells and maintains a healthy immune and nervous system. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids found in breadfruits also contribute to all round good health.
Potassium, iron and phosphorus are other mineral constituents of breadfruit of nutritional value. 

At present the sale price of breadfruit at the Castries market is $5/breadfruit. If you have a breadfruit tree in your yard then you are at an advantage. 

It is important to consume locally produced food crops like breadfruit, reducing our food import bill and improving the livelihoods of local farmers. Endure the added preparation time; take time to be healthy.

Here are a few additional resources for addtional nutritional value of the breadfruit:

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