Breadfruit Tree, Barbados Pocket Guide

Breadfruit Tree

The Breadfruit tree (Artocarpus altilis) is native to the Pacific islands but widely planted elsewhere. The introduction of this tree to the West Indies was for the primary purpose of feeding slaves. However, the initial undertaking of such in the late 1780s was futile as a result of an uprising by the ship's crew who recognised a reduction in their water allowance being used towards wetting plants.


In 1792, Captain Bligh returned to Tahiti with potted breadfruit plants that were sent to the Botanic Gardens of St. Vincent and Jamaica. It was from this nursery that Barbados got its breadfruit plants.



The breadfruit tree is closely related to the breadnut tree that can also be found in Barbados. The fruit of the breadfruit tree is seedless while that of the breadnut tree is seeded. The breadfruit tree can grow to towering heights of up to 85ft and can easily produce more than two hundred (200) breadfruits per season. All parts of the trees produce a milky white substance called latex that is used for caulking boats. The large and thick leaves of the breadfruit tree are deeply cut into pinnate lobes.


Interestingly enough, male and female flowers grow on the same tree with the male flowers appearing first, soon to be followed by the female flowers which grow into a capitulum. These capitulum can easily pollinate in as little time as three (3) days.


The texture of this green, oval-sized, fruit is rough with each fruit divided into many achenes. Each achene is surrounded by a fleshy perianth and growing on a fleshy receptacle.


Nutritional Value of the Breadfruit

The breadfruit tree is loaded with breadfruits that carry multiple nutritional benefits. The nutritional content in breadfruit make it an excellent source for consumption as a daytime meal and snack. Breadfruit nutrition makes it an excellent snack that can be eaten during the day and in between meals.


Caution should be taken in consuming too much breadfruit at night based on its large quantity of carbohydrates and sugars. Such consumption at night makes one vulnerable to the depositing of calories in body tissues.


Breadfruit is an energy booster and is high in fiber contents. The fiber content in breadfruit helps in decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides that causes several heart diseases. Consumption of breadfruit lowers the LDL (harmful cholesterol) in the body and elevates HDL (good cholesterol) count, protecting you from the risk of heart attacks. Fiber is needed in the diet to keep to keep the colon clean and to help prevent bowel cancer
Research proves that the fiber content in the fruit can control diabetes, by reducing the absorption of glucose by the body, from the food that is eaten
Breadfruit contains quite a high amount of potassium which helps in muscle contraction and in maintaining the bodies' cell electrolyte balance. Potassium also helps in sending nerve impulses as well as releasing energy from protein, fat and carbs during metabolism
Breadfruit provides a very good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to prevent cells and tissues from free radical damage, thereby helping to prevent cancer. Vitamin C also aids dietary iron absorption
Breadfruit is also a good source of niacin (vitamin B3) which helps to lower cholesterol levels. Vitamin B3 also helps to stablisie your blood sugar and helps the body to process fats
Breadfruit is a low-fat fruit
Breadfruit is also used in traditional medicine to treat illnesses that range from sore eyes to sciatica
A breadfruit contains a good amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are very important and help the body and mind to develop normally. These fatty acids also hasten and stimulate skin and hair growth, regulate our metabolism, promote reproduction and stimulate bone growth and health
Breadfruit contains vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron and phosphorous. All these minerals and vitamins provide essential nutrients to the body
Breadfruit is also used in the flour form that is richer than wheat flour in lysine and other essential amino acids and is useful for the growth and development of the body


The island of Barbados is not at all lacking when it comes to the supply of breadfruit trees, as they are on just about every corner of the island. This Barbados delicacy is enjoyed in a variey of ways. It can be fried into breadfruit chips, boiled, baked or crushed into breadfruit coucou or pickled by way of soaking its cooked cubes in a bowl of cucumber, lime and fresh pepper.


Young men on the island can be seen roasting breadfruit outdoors as well. This process entails stuffing the breadfruit with meat, wrapping it with foil and roasting it over an open fire.


DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this page should not be interpreted as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this site.


Readers should consult the appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well being.


The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best information available to the writers. However, readers who fail to consult the appropriate health authorities automatically assume risk of any injuries. Barbados Pocket Guide is not in any way responsible for errors or omissions.


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