Ackee Nutrition

Now that we’ve talked a bit about what ackee is, let’s have a look at it’s nutrition facts.

Though this website isn’t devoted to “healthy” ackee recipes nor do I seek to provide medical or “health” information, I thought it would be nice to have a reference point. (It’s always best to do ones own research 😉)

I made this nutritional label with the information contained in the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute’s (CFNI) Food Composition Tables for use in the English Speaking Caribbean published in 2000.

The values used are the ones noted in the supplement for canned and drained ackee. Since ackee is typically parboiled before being cooked, even if you are starting with fresh ackee and boiling it yourself the data is still applicable. The sodium could be less since you would be able to control that factor whereas the canned type is packaged in brine, thus the extra salt there.

ackee nutrition info

From the CFNI’s tables I noted that ackees provided a significant amount of our daily copper requirement. This made me curious as to what copper does. I learned that along with iron it helps the body to form red blood cells and keeps our blood vessels, nerves, immune system and bones healthy and also aids in iron absorption. That’s pretty cool!

Nutritional reports on ackee usually state that they are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium but low in phosphorus and zinc. Some studies show that the high oil content of ackee arils can be compared to that of peanuts, rapeseed and sunflower seeds and higher than that of soybeans.

The ripe arils contain all essential amino acids and they have been found to be rich in linoleic, oleic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids all of which are known to help reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases when included in a well balanced diet [1].

Of the fatty acids previously mentioned linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) is the foremost. It is which is an essential fatty acid, meaning the body doesn’t make it and we must obtain it from our diets. Omega-6s are important for membrane development in the eye and brain but correlation has been found between excess consumption of omega-6s and prostate cancer. The solution here is to mix ackee with another ingredient that is rich in omega-3s. Did you know that saltfish is rich in omega-3s? Ackee & Saltfish for the win! [2]

This is just a tip of the iceberg as you can imagine. It is not meant to be an in depth nutritional analysis of the ackee fruit.

If you are interested in more ackee information, see the sources cited below. Or visit the website of the Department of Chemistry, UWI Mona; they have conducted ackee research since the 1950s including identifying the toxic natural chemicals contained in ackee and how they change with maturity and cooking. Toxicity is discussed here: Ackee Concerns.

[1] Dossou, Veronica M., et al. “Physicochemical and Functional Properties of Full Fat and Defatted Ackee (Blighia sapida) Aril Flours.” American Journal of Food Science and Technology 2.6 (2014): 187-191.

[2] Mitchell, Sylvia & Webster, SA & Ahmad, MH. (2008). Ackee (Blighia sapida) – Jamaica’s top fruit. Jamaica Journal. 31. 84-89.

The direct links to the PDF formats of the papers cited above are here and here respectively.







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