Vietnamese gac fruit

Home Treatments Lifestyle Symptoms

 

Gac fruit has been eaten in Vietnam for thousands of years for its nutritional and medicinal properties.In the west it now becoming increasingly popular as a superfood in view of its high antioxidant and vitamin contents. Other names include Baby Jackfruit, Spiny Bitter Gourd, Sweet Gourd or Cochinchin Gourd in English.

 
 

It less abundant than other foods because it has a relatively short harvest season, which peaks in December and January. Gac is typically served at ceremonial or festive occasions in Vietnam, such as the Vietnamese New Year and weddings. It is most commonly prepared as a dish called xoi gac, in which the flesh and seeds of the fruit are cooked in a glutinous rice. More recently, the fruit has begun to be marketed outside of Asia in the form of dietary supplements.

Traditionally, gac fruit, seed and its leaves have also been used as a traditional medicine in the regions in which it grows. For example, the seed membranes are used to aid in the relief of dry eyes, as well as to promote healthy vision.  Similarly, in China the seeds of gac, known in Mandarin Chinese, are employed for a variety of internal and external purposes. Recently, attention is being to be attracted to it in The West, because chemical analysis of the fruit suggests it has high concentrations of several important phytonutrients, in addition to fibre and vitamins.

The fruit contains by far the highest content of beta carotene (Vitamin A) of any known fruit or vegetable, up to ten times more than carrots  or sweet potatoes. More importantly, the type of Research has confirmed that the beta-carotene  in the fruit is highly bioavailable (easy absorbed into the blood stream).  This was demonstrated in a double-blind study with 185 children, half of whom were given a dish containing 3.5 mg beta-carotene from gac, while others were given an identical-looking dish containing 5 mg of artificial beta-carotene powder. After 30 days, the former group eating natural beta-carotene had significantly greater plasma (blood) levels of beta-carotene than the latter with synthetic beta-carotene.

The oil of gac also contains high levels of vitamin E, essential long chain (healthy) fatty acids and lycopene. Relative to mass, it contains up to 70 times the amount of lycopene found in tomatoes.  There has also been recent research that suggests that gac contains a protein that may inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.

How to eat Gac?

If the gac fruit is not a bright red is it not ripe enough to eat. It starts out green, about the size of a cantaloupe and as it ripens goes through the yellow and orange spectrum until it reaches a brilliant orange-red hue. They are at their peak when they turn a brighter red just before spoiling. Warning! Do not eat the sides, which is similar to the inner texture of a cantaloupe. This part of the fruit, as well as the exterior rind are toxic and will make you feel ill for a couple days if you attempt to eat it. The only parts that can be eaten are the inner soft, oily pulp surrounding the seeds and the seeds themselves.

There are a number of companies which are commercially processing gac into supplements or juices.

 

 


lifestyle cancer books diet exercise avoid relapse improve cureradiotherapy and chemotherapy cancer treatment film English Bengali Gujurati HindiFurther information The book Lifestyle After Cancer summarises the lifestyle evidence from around the world and provides practical advice for all stages in the cancer journey. A detailed film available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explains Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk is a comprehensive cancer information resource written by an experienced team of doctors, health professionals and patients. It contains links and information on:  Specific cancers Breast | Prostate | Bowel.  Cancer treatmentsChemotherapy | Radiotherapy | Hormones | Biological agents | Complementary therapies .  Lifestyle and cancerExercise | Diet | Smoking | Sunbathing | Alcohol. Tips to help with symptoms and side effects. Financial issues: Traveling | Travel insurance| Links to support groups | Books | Tests for cancer | Clinical trials | What is cancer | How to avoid cancer | Glossary | About us | Disclaimer.