When you think of Hawaii, you envision hula skirts, volcanoes, and pineapples, right? Although pineapples often connote tropical Hawaii, the fruit traces its roots to Paraguay. The pineapple takes its unique look from the fact that it is not one whole fruit per se but a fusion of 100-200 individual berries around a central core. Each spiny scale represents a berry.
The pineapple is a stellar fruit source for vitamins, minerals, and fibre. When the craving for something sweet hits, a pineapple can slake that sweet tooth while providing a number of very healthy benefits.
Of the health benefits pineapple has to offer, Vitamin C is the most abundant. Raw pineapple can give 131 percent of your daily Vitamin C requirement, much more than oranges can. One 100-gram serving equals about 98.6% of one’s RDI (Recommended Daily Intake). Two slices or 164-grams can already satisfy half of your daily fruit requirements.
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that helps the body fight free radicals. This vitamin is known to help prevent or suppress colds, cough, and flu. As an antioxidant, it helps the body fight free radicals that encourage the formation of cancer cells.
Vitamin C is also a major factor in the production of collagen. Collagen is what keeps your skin young and elastic and preserves the integrity of your blood vessels, organs, and bones.
Vitamin C plays numerous vital roles in the body, a fact that underlines the importance of getting a substantial amount of this nutrient into our diets everyday. Pineapples are one of the best sources of this vitamin. The health benefits Vitamin C alone brings are worth incorporating this fruit into your diet often.
Pineapple is one of the richest sources of bromelain, an enzyme that has these four healthful properties:
Bromelain in pineapples can reduce unnecessary blood clotting by breaking down fibrin, a protein responsible for blood clotting. Two clinical trials with bromelain have significantly reduced the effects of angina and thrombophlebitis, showing that the enzyme has blood thinning attributes.
As a mucus thinning agent, bromelain can be of benefit to people suffering from asthma and bronchitis.
People who make it a habit of eating pineapples after a huge protein meal are doing themselves a good digestive favour. Bromelain in pineapples help process hard-to-digest protein food like meat by breaking down the protein components into simpler substances like amino acids and peptides. People older than 35 may experience a reduction in their protein-digestive abilities, so enjoying pineapples as dessert may prove to be a wiser choice than the standard cake, chocolate, or ice-cream.
Bromelain can be an effective painkiller and anti-swelling agent. It has been used effectively in post-operative treatments and treatments of bowel conditions that include swelling and ulcers. It may also improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. When topically applied to wounds, bromelain can help heal fast.
As cancer is believed to be an offshoot of chronic inflammation, bromelain is often touted to be anti-cancer marvel because of its anti-inflammatory property. Although not a cancer cure, bromelain has been discovered to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment on mesothelioma tumour cells making up a type of aggressive cancer acquired through exposure to asbestos fibres. Researchers are hoping that bromelain’s qualities may translate to other cancer-fighting options.
Most of the pineapple’s bromelain enzyme resides at its core so make sure to include that important part when eating the fruit.
Pineapple, as with most fruits, contains a lot of dietary fibre. Fibre or roughage is a digestive essential that can help prevent colorectal cancer and aid in weight management as well.
Strong bones and connective tissue rely on manganese, of which pineapple can supply almost 75% of your RDI. Post-menopausal women may stand to benefit from pineapples as manganese, along with other minerals, can help prevent the development of osteoporosis among this particular high-risk group.
Vitamin A, B1, B6, Beta-Carotene, Copper, Potassium, Zinc, and Folate
As macular degeneration is common in aging individuals, beta-carotene and Vitamin A in pineapples can help stave off this condition. In conjunction with zinc, copper, folate, and Vitamin C, beta-carotene may also aid in boosting fertility.
Vitamins B1 and B6 work with manganese to reduce stress and improve energy.
Aside from all these nutrients that benefit our health, the pineapple is low in calories, sodium, and cholesterol, all factors that make this a heart-healthy fruit. Eating some slices of pineapple a day can help your body fight dangerous free radicals, improve your immune system against diseases, boost your energy and metabolism, strengthen bones, and revitalise your hair, nails, and skin to keep your well-being in optimal shape. Besides, pineapples just taste wonderfully sweet. So what’s not to love?
A slice of pineapple (or two) a day may just be what you need to keep the doctor away.