Ackee can be very delicious, but it can be very poisonous too. That's why it has become a controversial topic for a kind of rare fruits in the world.
How good is one of our popular rare fruits- ackee?
Ackee has been listed in the top delicious rare fruits in the world. Jamaicans have enjoyed this kind of rare fruits for a long time. In 1778, people have first grown ackee in West Africa, where ackee has also become a national fruit. People in Jamaica also called it akye, as legendary in this country. It is a member of Sapindaceae family, which includes maple, chestnut, longan and lychee fruit. It usually grows on evergreen trees that have foliage annually and can reach up to 40 feet tall. They are pods grown in clusters that ripen when the color changes from green to red. Farmers will harvest them once the pod splits wide open. It has the buttery and creamery texture and it somewhat tastes like mango and papaya.
What are the benefits of this kind of rare fruits?
Some most outstanding benefits of ackee are to cure digestive problems, to lower the blood pressure, support blood circulation and boost immune system.
First and foremost, it can help our body improve our digestive problems. The reason is because it contains extremely high amount of fiber, which contributes bulk to your stool and quickens the movement in intestines. It also helps prevent other digestive sicknesses such as bloating, cramping, constipation and inflammation, etc.
Secondly, because the amount of potassium in ackee is also very high, it opens up your blood vessels and it helps the function of cardiovascular system. It reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, another cardiovascular disease that builds up fats, cholesterol in the artery walls.
Thirdly, high amount of iron in ackee can also improve your blood circulation. Iron can also energize your body and prevent you from developing anemia, e.g. fatigue, due to lack of oxygen.
Last but not least, ackee is also very rich in vitamin C, and it definitely can improve your immune system and protect your body from many common diseases like nose bleeding, bleeding gums, etc.
How useful is this kind of rare fruits?
In Ghana and many other West Africans countries, people use almost every component of ackee to improve their lives. For instance, they use wood to make oars, or furniture in general, flowers to enhance fragrances in perfume, seed extracts to help treat dysentery. Surprisingly, it has become one of the most exported fruits in Jamaica.
Our concerns for this kind of rare fruits
Years ago, FDA banned the import of ackee in their Import Alert Report. Some people have constantly reported the side effects or issues. In 2009, Barceloux, D. has made some research on the link between Akee Fruit and Jamaican Vomiting Sickness and the toxic level does inhibit the fatty-acid oxidation in our body. More researchers have also worked to find more evidence for it, included in Nature’s Poisons. They found themselves vomiting, being drowsy or exhausted after eating this fruit. The reason is because it contains hypoglycin and this causes those issues. It can also lead to some more serious fatal diseases.
What we need to keep in mind is that this only happens when we harvest the fruit earlier than expected because the toxic level is extremely high in unripe or green ackee. Thanks to this rising awareness, FDA has recently lifted their ban on this fruit but FDA would restrict the admission of ackee from the exporters before being for sale in America. Americans can still have a chance to enjoy this fruit, of course, in caution. Only consume fruit from the company in the Green List as they passed all the FDA tests. You have to be careful, on the other hand, when purchasing fruits from companies with Yellow List as FDA required more product tests from them.
To sum up,
Ackee remains one of the most delicious kinds of rare fruits in West Africa and slowly entered the fruit markets in many countries. Though consuming the fruit at the wrong time can cause many serious problems including Jamaica Vomiting Sickness, it remains true that it has a lot of nutritious value that can boost our immune system, improve blood circulation and many other digestive problems. Just keep in mind; only eat the ripe red ackee!
Some research found that this kind of Rare Fruits helps control blood pressure, digestion problems, and boost immune system. However, others argued that it actually contains some poison called hypoglycin which can cause vomiting sickness. Check out WHY.
Share the article if you are interested in this kind of rare fruits, or take a look at the other rare fruits in the world to see whether you have tried any of them.