Breadfruit – nutrition, proven benefits, uses


The scientific name of the breadfruit is Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson ex F.A.Zorn) Fosberg.

Other names include

CHINESE: Mian bao guo, Mian bao shu, Mian bao guo shu, Luo mi shu.
DANISH: Brødfrugt, Brødfrugttrae.
DUTCH: Broodboom, Broodvrucht.
FRENCH: Brotfrucht, Brotfruchtbaum, Echter brotfruchtbaum.
HINDI: Kathal, Khanun.
ITALIAN: Artocarpo, Albero del pane.
JAPANESE: Pannoki.
MALAY: Kelur, Kulor (Indonesia), Kulur (Indonesia), Sukun (Indonesia, Bali), Timbul (Indonesia, Bali).
PORTUGUESE: Fruta-pão, Pão de mas.
SPANISH: Arbol del pan, Castaña de Malabar, Fruta de pan, Marure, Mazapán, Pana de pepitas, Pan de año, Pan de ñame, Pan de pobre, Pan de todo el año.
SWEDISH: Brödfruktträd.
THAI: Saake (sa ke).

Breadfruit is a large tree with milky sap, growing to 15 meters tall. Leaves are alternate, large, coriaceous, ovate to oblong, up to 50 centimeters long, deeply pinnate, and acuminate. Stipules are large and deciduous. Fruit is globose to ellipsoid, up to 12 to 20 centimeters in wide, 12 to 16 centimeters long, the rind green, yellowish-green or pale yellow. seedless, with the surface marked with polygonal faces.


– Common plant in and around towns in the many parts of the world.

– Usually cultivated for its edible fruits.

– Occasionally planted as an ornamental in parks and gardens.

– Occurs from the Malay Peninsula to Malaysia.

Parts utilized

Bark, leaves, fruit.


– Study has yielded papayotin, enzyme and artocarpin.

– Nutritional composition of 100 g edible portion of seeds yield: (see study)

– Water 47.7% (cooked), 61.9% (fresh)
– Protein 8.1g (c), 7.9 g (f)
– Carbohydrate 38.2 g (C), 26.6 (f)
– Fat 4.9 g (c), 2.5 g (f)
– Calcium 46.6 mg (c), 48.3 mg (f)
– Phosphorus 186 mg (c), 189 mg (f)
– Iron 2.3 mg (c,f)
– Niacin 2.1 mg (c), 1.8 mg (f)
– Thiamine 0.33 to 1.3
– Vitamin C 1.9 to 22.6

– Breadfruit nutritive value per 100 g yielded:

(Principle) energy 103 Kcal, carbohydrate 27.12 g, protein 1.07 g, total fat 0.20 g, cholesterol 0, dietary fiber 4.9 g; (Vitamins) folates 14 µg, niacin 0.90 mg, pyridoxine 0.100 mg, riboflavin 0.30 mg, thiamin 0.11 mg, vitamin A 0 IU, vitamin C 29 mg, vitamin E 0.16 mg, vitamin K 0.5 µg; (Electrolytes) sodium 2 mg, potassium 490 mg; (Minerals) calcium 17 mg, copper 0.084 mg, iron 0.54 mg, magnesium 25, manganese 0.060 mg, phosphorus 30 mg, selenium 0.6 µg, zinc 0.12 mg; (Phytonutrients) carotene-ß 0 ug, crypto-xanthin-ß 0 mg, lutein-zeaxanthin 22 µg.

– Phytochemical analysis yielded tannins, phenolics, glycosides, saponins, steroids, terpenoids, and anthraquinones in cold and hot leaf extracts. (see study)

– Starch isolated from breadfruit yielded and moisture 10.83%, crude protein 0.53%, fat 0.39%, amylose 22.52%, amylopectin 77.48%, and ash 1.77% contents. (See study)

– Study of dichlormethane extract of leaves yielded ß-sitosterol (1), unsaturated triglycerides (2), squalene (3), polyprenol (4), lutein (5), and unsaturated fatty acids (UFA).

– Twigs yielded terpenoids, saponins, phenolic group, flavonoids, glycoside, steroids and tannins. Screening was negative for alkaloids.

Edibility / Nutritional

– Crop considered a carbohydrate food source.

– Fruit can be fried, boiled, candied or cooked as a vegetable.

– High in starch, it is also high in Vitamin B, with fair amounts of B and C.

– In the Caribbean, prepared boiled, steam or roasted, used with salt-cured meats, coconut milk, and dasheen leaves, in the creation of regional dishes.

– In the Philippines, eaten boiled, sliced with coconut and sugar as a sweet, or as candied breadfruit.

– In West Africa, seeds from ripe fruits and boiled or roasted with salt, sometimes made into a puree.

Folkloric traditional medicine uses, benefits, remedies with breadfruit 

• Decoction of the bark used as vulnerary (wound healing). In the Visayas, decoction of the bark used in dysentery.

• Used as emollient.

• In the Caribbean, leaves are used to relieve pain and inflammation.

• In Jamaican folk medicine, leaf decoction used for hypertension.

• Latex is massaged into skin to treat broken bones and sprains; bandaged on the spine to relieve sciatica. Used to treat skin ailments and thrush. Diluted latex used internally for diarrhea, stomach aches and dysentery. Latex and juice from crushed leaves used for ear infections. Bark used to treat headaches in several Pacific Islands. (see study)

• In the West Indies decoction of yellowing leaf is used to treat hypertension. Tea is also used to control diabetes. (see study)

Other uses

Insect repellent:

Male inflorescences are dried and used as mosquito repellent. Latex is mixed with coconut oil for trapping houseflies in Kosrae. (see study)

• Caulk: Gum used to caulk canoes to make them watertight. and to prepare wooden surfaces for painting.

Scientific proven health benefits and uses of breadfruit 


Study concluded that the starch of Artocarpus altilis showed a high degree of purity. Physiochemical and rheological characteristics suggest the starch could be useful in products that require long heating process, with an excellent digestibility that might be advantageous for medical and food use.

Study showed percent recoveries of amino acid, fatty acid and carbohydrate content showed 72.5%, 68.2% and 81.4%. The starch content is 15.52 g/100 g fresh weight.

Cytoprotective / provide protection to cells against harmful agents:

Study yielded cytoprotective components – ß-sitosterol and six flavonoids with good potential for medicinal applications.

Phenolic Compounds / Cytotoxicity:

Study isolated isoprenylated flavonoids – morusin, artonin E, cycloartobiloxanthone and artonol B – that showed high toxicity against Artemia salina. Result of cytotoxicity test showed the presence of an isoprenyl moiety in the C-3 position in the flavone skeleton, an important factor for its activity.

Negative Inotropic Effect/ alters the force or energy of muscular contractions:

Leaf extract study exerted a weak, negative chronotropic and inotropic effect in vivo in the rat. The mechanism of action of the inotropic agent was not cholinergic and may involve decoupling of excitation and contraction.

Antihypertensive / treat hypertension (high blood pressure):

Study evaluated an aqueous extract of leaves for possible antihypertensive mechanisms and effect on the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme activities on Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed negative chronotropic and hypotensive effects through α-adrenoreceptor and Ca+- channel antagonism. Drug adversity are unlikely if the extract if consumed with other medications reliant on CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 metabolism.

ACE-Inhibitory Activity:

Study evaluated the effect of A. altilis leaf extracts on angiotensin-converting enzyme activity. An ethanol extract showed potent ACE-inhibitory activity, supporting its use in folk medicine for the treatment of hypertension.

New Prenylated Aurone / Radical Scavenging Activity:

Study isolated a new prenylated aurone, artocarpaurone, together with 8 known compounds. Artocarpaurone showed moderate nitric oxide radical scavenging activity, white two prenylated chalcones showed radical moderate scavenging activity in the DPPH assay.

Anti-Cancer / Breast Cancer (T47D) Cells:

Study evaluated Sukun wood extract in human T47D breast cancer cells. Results showed the extract decreased cell viability in a concentration-dependent manner, inducing apoptosis and sub-G1 phase formation in breast cancer cells, suggesting a potential as an anti-cancer agent.

Antitubercular / Antimalarial / Anticancer:

Study of root extracts yielded nine prenylated flavones: Cycloartocarpin, artocarpin, and chaplashin from root stems, and morusin, cudraflavone B, cycloartobiloxanthone, artonin E, cudraflavone C and artobiloxanthone from the root barks. The isolated compounds exhibited antitubercular and antiplasmodial activities, with moderate cytotoxicity against KB (human oral epidermoid carcinoma) and BC (human breast cancer) cell lines.

Toxicity Studies / Leaf and Bark:

Study evaluated the acute toxicity of A. altilis leaf and bark extracts, administering various doses of extracts up to 2000 mg/kbw for 14 days. No mortality or toxic reactions were seen, with no histopathological changes. Results suggest the safety of the extracts in therapeutic uses.

Functional and Pasting Properties of Breadfruit Starch:

Study showed breadfruit starch has an array of functional, pasting and proximate properties that can facilitate use in many areas where properties of other starches are acceptable.

Pulp Flour as Affected by Fermentation:

Study showed the functional properties (bulk density, least gelation concentration and peak viscosity) of A. altilis pulp flour can be enhanced through fermentation and hence their incorporation into food systems.

Antihyperglycemic Activity / Leaves, Bark, and Fruits:

Study evaluated the hypoglycemic potential of leaves, bark, and fruit parts in invivo and invitro testing of glucose adsorption, glucose diffusion retardation index, inhibition of enteric enzymes, α-amylase, α-glucosidase and sucrase, and effect of samples on glucose uptake using a yeast cell model. Results suggest a hypoglycemic effect possibly through effects on glucose adsorption, inhibition of carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes, and facilitation of glucose diffusion through cell membrane.

Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves:

Study investigated the anti-inflammatory activities of A. altilis leaf extract using a carrageenan-induced paw edema mice model. The extract significantly reduced paw edema. In vitro enzymatic assays showed the AAE has lower IC50 against COX-2 compared to COX-1, suggesting a higher selectivity for COX-2. Also, there was dose-dependent reduction of COX-2 expression in hind paws.

Antioxidant / Twigs:

Study investigated the phytochemical constituents and antioxidant activity of twigs of Artocarpus altilis. A dichlormethane extract showed remarkable antioxidant activity with an IC50 value of 0.015 mg/ml compared with standard butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

Antimicrobial / Twigs:

Study evaluated the antimicrobial, MIC, and MBC/MFC activities of A. altilis twigs. Hexane and DCM extracts showed moderate antimicrobial activity (14.6±0.2mm) against Bacillus cereus. The least MIC of 250 µg/ml was seen with DCM extract against S. aureus and Candida albicans and C. neoformans. Results showed promising potential against bacterial and fungi.

Anti-Atherogenic / prevent formation of plaques in arteries/ Anti-Hypercholesterolemic / effective against elevated serum cholesterol levels:

Study evaluated the methanol extract of A. altilis on atherogenic indices and redox status of cellular systems of rats fed with dietary cholesterol. Treatment with AA significantly reduced the relative weight of organs and lipid parameters, with beneficial increases in serum and cardiac HDL-C levels in HC rats treated with AA. Results suggest protective effects against dietary cholesterol-induced hypercholesterolemia.


– Wildcrafted.
–  Fruit, Tea, dried leaves, and products in the market.

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