2. Phytonutrient – Saponins
Saponins belong to the glucosinolates family of phytonutrients. They have a soap-like quality in that if you mix them with water, they produce a lather. The name, in fact, comes from the Latin derivative Sapo, which means soap. Saponins support the immune system and promote the overall wellness of the body as a whole. Their soap-like qualities are very useful in the digestive tract. Saponin binds to the bile acid and helps to expel it from the body in the act of detoxification.
This phytonutrient has antioxidant properties. Studies have revealed that some saponins are in fact able to destroy cancer cells. Others are able to bind themselves to the cancer cell membranes, thereby negatively affecting the ability of the cancer cells to replicate. The Journal of Nutrition reported that saponins had induced the killing of cancer cell and retarded tumor growth. This was in a study that used soybeans as the source of saponins.
Studies and tests are done under controlled conditions. This means that certain saponins are taken and pitted against specific cancer cells. Therefore, until further study has been done, it is only known that saponins may help in the fight against cancer, and it should not be assumed that saponins can have the same effect on all cancer cells.
Even though study and research are in their infancy, all speculation points to the fact that saponins can play a role in cancer prevention. The jackfruit contains saponins and is an excellent way of introducing this phytonutrient into the diet. It is just another reason why this power-packed fruit is good for your health.