Kochi: Of late Keralites have come to realise that the jackfruit (chakka) has medicinal properties as it is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. Its cancer-curing properties are well-documented in Ayurveda. Now, a study conducted in a hospital in the city has concluded that green jackfruit flour in regular diet of cancer patients may prove to be a palliative.
Nerve pain as well as numbness and tingling of limbs or body extremities is often felt by patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapay. This pain could be alleviated with regular intake of food preapred from jackfruit flour, researchers claimed.
The study was conducted among a group of patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer at Renai Medicity Hospital, Palarivattom, Kochi, since June 2018.
Chemotherapy is a procedure conducted as part of cancer treatment using one or more anti-cancer drugs as part of a standardised regimen. Chemotherapy is given with a curative intent, or with an aim to prolong life or to reduce symptoms.
As per statistics, 43 percent of the patients who undergo chemotherapy regimen showed side effects like fatigue, bowel issues like diarrhoea, pneumonia and mouth sores. Patients were given 30 grams of green jackfruit flour per day along with staple food during breakfast and dinner.
A team of doctors headed by Thomas Varghese conducted the study after giving green jackfruit flour diet to 50 patients and monitoring the variations in the symptoms in patients after receiving the chemotherapy.
The study found that pectin, a polysaccharide present in green jackfruit flour, reduced the side effects caused by chemotherapy.
Pectin is a naturally occurring starch found in fruits and vegetables. As this water-soluble fibre has powerful gelling ability, it is used in jams and jellies as a thickening agent.
Jackfruit is a major source of pectin.
Diabetes control too
Earlier, a team of doctors of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College had proved that consuming jackfruit stew was effective in controlling diabetes. (This preparation which is popular in Kerala is locally called 'puzhukku'.) Consuming the fruit in its raw form would keep their glucose levels under control, an earlier study had found.
James Joseph, a former director of the Microsoft Corporation, was one of the researchers who was in the team that studied the effects of jackfruit diet in controling diabetes. Joseph is also part of the team that conducted the study on jackfruit diet for patients’ undergoing chemotherapy.
Findings under review
A paper based on the latest study was presented at the conference of European Nutritionists held recently in Rome. The paper is also being presented at the conference of American Association for Cancer Research scheduled later at San Diego, California.
The paper is also being presented at the conference of Indian Association for Cancer Research to be held at Kovalam on Wednesday.
The study was also published in the international medical journal Biomolecules.