FRESH JUJUBE FRUIT: Nutritional Benefits & Uses
- 18 minutes read
Fresh jujube fruit is also identified by the names Chinese date, or red date. It is a South Asian fruit but is eaten globally.
Jujube fruits are small with a round shape. The fruit has a pit in which is buried a seed. Jujube fruit grows on trees (Ziziphus jujuba) or large flowering shrubs. They assume a purple or dark red color when ripe, and may have a wrinkled appearance.
The fruit has a chewy texture and a sweet taste. Dry jujube fruit is often used in desserts and candies in parts of Asia where they’re commonly cultivated.
Jujube nutritional benefits include anti-anxiety effects and sleep improvement. This explains why they have great application in alternative medicine. This article highlights the nutritional benefits of fresh jujube fruit.
FRESH JUJUBE FRUIT NUTRITION FACTS
Fresh jujube fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, it has a low-calorie content.
From a 3-ounce serving if fresh jujube fruit, you’ll enjoy the following nutritional benefits (1, 2):
- Potassium: 5 percent of the daily value
- Vitamin C: 77 percent of the daily value
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Fiber: 10 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Calories: 79
- Protein: 1 gram
Because it is low in calorie but rich in fiber, jujube serves as an excellent and very healthy snack.
They have traces of minerals and vitamins, but are loaded with vitamin C. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, and also acting as an immune booster (3).
Fresh jujube fruit also has some potassium, which is important for electrolyte balance and muscle control (2).
Also, jujube fruits contain natural sugars, which energize your body.
Dry jujube fruit benefits include high calorie and sugar content, much more than the fresh fruit.
When the fruit is dried, the sugar becomes concentrated. Extra sugar may also be added during processing.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF FRESH JUJUBE FRUIT
Jujube fruits have been used for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia, for quite some time. It is indispensable in alternative medicine.
Animal studies, as well as test-tube studies, have shown that the fruit offers a lot of benefits to the immune system, the nervous system, and the digestive system.
Fresh jujube fruit contains a lot of antioxidants
Yes! These fruits are rich in many antioxidants, mostly triterpenic acids, polysaccharides, and flavonoids. They are also loaded with vitamin C, which is also a potent antioxidant on its own (4).
Antioxidants help with the reversal or prevention of damage caused by free radicals. When you have too many free radicals in your body, then your body system is at risk of chronic diseases (5).
Damages caused by free-radicals contributes to many health disorders including heart disease, certain types of cancers, and type 2 diabetes (5, 6, 7).
Because of their ability to destroy free radicals, antioxidants offer great benefits to your health.
Results from an animal study showed that the antioxidants present in fresh jujube fruit helped to reduce inflammation in the liver caused by free radical damage (8).
The antioxidant effects of jujube stand out as one of its most well-known health benefits.
Improves brain function and sleep
Jujube fruits are well-known for their ability to improve brain function and the quality of sleep. Studies have shown that the antioxidants present in jujubes may contribute to these effects.
The seed and fruit extracts of jujube increased the quality and duration of sleep in rats (9, 10).
Proponents of alternative medicine also prescribe jujube fruit to those suffering anxiety.
Also, test tube and animal studies have shown that jujube fruit may safeguard the brain cells from damage, and also improve your memory (4).
Studies conducted in mice have shown that extracts from jujube seed may help in the treatment of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is important to note that these seeds are not always eaten (11, 12, 13, 14).
There is a need for more studies to fully understand the effect of jujube extract on the brain and the nervous system.
Jujube anti-cancer and immune-boosting properties
Jujube acts as an immune booster, and also assist in fighting cancer cells.
A study showed that polysaccharides present in jujube has anti-inflammatory effects, neutralizes harmful cells, and fight off free radicals. This is due to their antioxidant properties (15).
Reduced levels of free radicals and inflammation help in the prevention of chronic health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes (16).
Studies have also shown that lignins in jujube promotes immune cell production and also increases the rate at which harmful compounds are neutralized by these immune cells (17).
A study conducted on rats showed that extracts from jujube boosted natural killer cells, a type of immune cells, which can destroy harmful invader cells (18).
Fresh jujube fruit is also loaded with vitamin C (this has been discussed), which has very potent anti-cancer effects.
A mouse study showed that injections of high dose vitamin C killed thyroid cancer cells (3, 19).
Also, test-tube studies have shown that extracts from jujube fruit kill cancer cells, such as skin cancer cells, colon cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and liver cancer cells (20, 21, 22, 23).
Scientists believe that the anticancer and immune-boosting benefits of fresh jujube fruit are the result of antioxidants in the fruit. It is worth noting that most of these researches were test-tube or animal-based studies, so there is a need for more human research before conclusions can be made.
It improves digestion
Jujube is rich in fiber. This is of immense benefit to your digestive system. More than fifty percent of the carbs in jujube come from fiber (1, 2, 24, 25).
The fiber content of jujube softens your stool and also adds bulk to it. This causes food to move faster through your digestive system and reduces constipation (26, 27, 28).
Also, extracts from jujube strengthen your intestinal and abdominal linings, thus reducing your risk of damage from injury, dangerous bacteria, and ulcers (29).
In a certain, the polysaccharide extracts of jujube strengthened the intestinal lining of rats suffering from colitis, which improved their digestive symptoms (29).
On a final note, jujube is loaded with fiber, which may serve as food for the bacteria in your gut. Of course, these bacteria are friendly, and so they can grow and combat the bad bacteria (24).
WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF JUJUBE FRUIT?
There’s nothing wrong with the jujube fruit, at least for most people. You can eat it safely.
However, jujube is contraindicated with certain medications, including venlafaxine, an antidepressant medication, or other serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) (30).
Also, an animal study found that the fruit extract may potentiate the effects of some seizure medications, such as phenobarbitone, phenytoin, and carbamazepine (31).
If you’ve been placed on these medications, please see your doctor before including jujube to your diet.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO EAT JUJUBE FRUIT?
Fresh jujube fruits are small-sized with a sweet taste. Dry jujube fruits taste just like dates and have a chewy texture.
Raw jujube fruits, on the other hand, have an apple-like flavor and can be eaten as a snack. They have two seeds in it. You should remove these seeds before eating.
Dried jujube fruits are used in desserts or can be eaten by themselves. Always recall that dried fruits have a higher calorie content than fresh fruits. Also, their sugar content is higher, so you should watch your intake.
Jujube juice, vinegar, honey, and marmalades are very popular in some Asian regions. Jujube is difficult to locate in the groceries in the United States. But that notwithstanding, some specialty grocers may carry them together with related products.
Tonika Bruce, also known as The Network Nurse, is a multi-talented individual with a career spanning over 20 years. She’s a Registered Nurse, speaker, author, and advocate for change, excelling in business building and team development. Tonika holds two Master’s degrees in Nursing and Business Administration, (MSN & MBA) and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership.
Her expertise extends to various fields such as nursing, entrepreneurship, business, basketball coaching, and executive leadership. She is a published author of “Relentless Pursuit: Proven Tips for Unlocking Your Potentials, Limitless Success and Post COVID Syndrome: A Guide to Repositioning the Nursing Profession for A Post COVID Era”. Currently, Tonika is working on Thrudemic, an anthology examining the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on medical professionals and patients.