Reviving the forgotten fruit

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breadfruit

Artocarpus altilis, the humble breadfruit that enabled the Polynesians to colonise the Pacific is undergoing a justifiable revival, thanks to botanist Diane Ragone. Breadfruit are rich in carbohydrate and are a good source of iron, calcium, potassium, riboflavin  and niacin.  The flour made from breadfruit is rich in lysine and its seeds are a good source of protein. The breadfruit was disappearing rapidly from the islands of the pacific until Diane Ragone created the Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii ten years ago. The Institute has since saved 120 varieties of breadfruit and have created an efficient method of propagating trees.  The Institute is now  sending the plants out to countries which are struggling to find crops to supply even the most basic calorific needs. Plants have been sent to Ghana, Kenya, Haiti and many other countries.   The humble breadfruit's value doesn't end there - new research supports the traditional medicinal use of tea made from the leaves, for lowering blood pressure and it is also an effective mosquito repellent.

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