Breadfruit Nutritional Benefits - How to Feel Your Best!

ʻAi ʻUlu (ʻUlu Salad)

ʻAi ʻUlu (ʻUlu Salad)

Fuel your body with the Rev'ULUtion!

Living your best life means eating food that is good for body, mind, and soul.  Breadfruit (‘ulu) is a healthy staple food choice to meet this goal and satisfies new dietary guidelines from the USDA, urging us to “Make Every Bite Count” with nutrient-dense foods. ʻUlu provides healing nutritional value while lowering sugar cravings with fiber and protein in every bite—helping you and your ʻohana live your healthiest lives.


1. Breadfruit is Naturally Gluten Free

Breadfruit is naturally gluten free, making it an ideal starch for those with celiac disease, gluten allergies or intolerance or those of us looking to diversify our staple diet [5]. While celiac disease affects less than 1% of the population, there are other reasons why a gluten-free diet may be beneficial [13].  Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome often have gastrointestinal symptoms. These individuals may benefit from a gluten-free diet. ʻUlu can even be dried and milled into a gluten-free flour.


2. ‘Ulu Provides the Health Advantages of Fiber 

Breadfruit delivers nearly three times the fiber found in brown rice and nearly twelve times the amount of fiber found in white rice [20-22]. A recent national survey from the USDA found that only about 5% of men and 9% of women within the US population is meeting fiber recommendations, with the rest of the population missing out [1]. Dietary fiber helps decrease constipation and reduces the risk of hemorrhoids [7].

Breadfruit also has a high amylose content that ranges from 16 to 53%. Amylose is an insoluble fiber that helps decrease the risk of type II diabetes, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This also helps contribute to feelings of fullness by resisting digestion and allows for blood sugar regulation.

Breadfruit is also low in sodium, fat – particularly saturated fats, and is cholesterol free (Joannie Dobbs & Noa Lincoln, personal communication, April 4, 2023).  Diets low in saturated fats decrease the risk of bad cholesterol (also known as low-density lipoprotein or LDL) [2;3].  A diet low in LDL cholesterol also decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease [2][2]. Conversely, consuming foods low in sodium such as breadfruit can help decrease these risks. [14; 19; 25]


3. Breadfruit Helps Regulate Blood Sugar with a Low-to-Moderate Glycemic Index 

Breadfruit has a low to moderate glycemic index rating of 47 to 72 when cooked [15]. A low glycemic index helps with the prevention of coronary heart disease, increases feelings of fullness to regulate food intake, and helps with glucose and lipid metabolism [18]. Improves insulin sensitivity to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Breadfruit is also known to be a resistant starch, which means that during its digestive process it is resistant to enzyme breakdown [4]. This resistant starch contributes to breadfruit’s low glycemic index and allows for better control of diabetes.


4. ‘Ulu Charges Your Amino Acid Pool

Is breadfruit a protein or carbohydrate? The answer is both. ‘Ulu delivers energy-sustaining starches as well as protein-building amino acids, providing double the amount of protein per serving as potatoes [6]. In terms of protein quality, all essential amino acids have been found in breadfruit--the Ma’afala variety has been shown to have greater than 568 mg amino acid content per gram of protein--a higher percentage of essential amino acids than in soybeans. 


And... there is even more!

In addition to the four important health benefits above, breadfruit is packed with even more nutrition! For instance, did you know that breadfruit provides a good source of  copper (0.081mg) and thiamin (0.096mg)? These values reflect the amount per 100g serving of cooked breadfruit. Copper is important for connective tissue synthesis, energy production, and iron metabolism. Thiamin is critical for energy metabolism and therefore helps support cell growth, development, and function. Additionally, breadfruit is a good source of vitamin C (23.9mg) that works to reduce oxidative stress and helps with tissue repair. While breadfruit contains a vast amount of nutritional benefits, nutritive components such as protein, starch, and fiber can be found in decreasing amounts in breadfruit regions with heavy rainfall. Thiamin in particular is affected by vapor pressure, temperature, and precipitation [12].  [8-11; 16; 19-20;23-24]

Want to learn more about what you can make with breadfruit? Check out our recipes page here.

Breadfruit health and nutrition student with dish
1. American Society for Nutrition Staff. (2021, June 9). Most Americans are not getting enough fiber in our diets. American Society for Nutrition.

2. Briggs, M.A., Petersen, K.S., Kris-Etherton, P.M. (2017). Saturated fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: replacements for saturated fat to reduce cardiovascular risk. Healthcare, 5(29), 1-29.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). LDL and HDL cholesterol: “Bad” and “good” cholesterol.

4. Erland, L.A., Needham, A.M.L.W., Kehinde, A.Z., Adebowale, A.P., Lincoln, N.K., Ragone, D., Murch, S.J. (2023). Impact of microclimate on Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg var Ma’afala fruit and nutritional quality. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 115(2023), 1-9.

5. Jones, A.M.P., Ragone, D., Aiona, K., Lane, A.W., Murch, S.J. (2011). Nutritional and morphological diversity of breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae): Identification of elite cultivars for food security. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 24(2011), 1091-1102.

6. Liu, Y., Ragone, D., Murch, S.J. (2015). Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis): a source of high‐quality protein for food security and novel food products. Amino Acids. DOI:10.1007/s00726-015-1914-4

7. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022, November 4). Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic.

8. National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Copper [Fact Sheet].

9. National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Potassium [Fact Sheet].
10. National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Thiamin [Fact Sheet].

11. National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Vitamin C [Fact Sheet].

12. Needham, A., Jha, R., Lincoln, N.K. (2020). The response of breadfruit nutrition to local climate and soil: A review. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 88 (May 2020), 1-10.

13. Niland, B., Cash, B.D. (2018). Health benefits and adverse effects of a gluten-free diet in non-celiac disease patients. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 14(2), 82-91.

14. Pellegrino, D. (2016). Antioxidants and cardiovascular risk factors. Diseases, 4(11), 1-9. DOI:10.3390/diseases4010011

15. Ragone, D. (2018). Artocarus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg. Exotic Fruits Reference Guide.

16. Ragone, D. (2007). Breadfruit: Diversity, conservation and potential. Acta Horticulturae, 19-30.

17. Rashmi, D.R., Raghu, N., Gopenath, T.S., Palanisamy, P., Bakthavatchalam, P., Karthikeyan, M., Gnanasekaran, A., Ranjith, M.S., Chandrashekrapa, G.K., Basalingappa, K.M. (2018). Taro (Colocasia esculenta): An overview. Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies, 6(4), 156-161.

18. Rizkalla, S.W., Bellisle, F., Slama, G. (2002). Health benefits of low glycaemic index foods, such as pulses, in diabetic patients and healthy individuals. British Journal of Nutrition, 2002(88), S255-S262. DOI: 10.1079/BJN2002715

19. Turi, C.E., Liu, Y., Ragone, D., Murch, S.J. (2015). Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis and hybrids): A traditional crop with the potential to prevent hunger and mitigate diabetes in Oceania. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 45(2), 264-272.

20. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2022). Breadfruit, cooked. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from

21. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019). Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked (Includes foods for USDA's Food Distribution Program). Retrieved February 3, 2023, from

22. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019). Rice, white, long-grain, regular, enriched, cooked. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from

23. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (n.d.). Daily value on the new nutrition and supplement facts labels.

24. Wiseman, B., Chen, N.J., Lincoln, N., Paull, R.E. (2021). ‘Ulu – Breadfruit postharvest handling and quality maintenance guidelines. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

25. Wolosowicz, M., Lukaszuk, B., Chabowski, A. (2020). The causes of insulin resistance in type 1 diabetes mellitus: Is there a place for quaternary prevention? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22), 8651-8663.

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