Pineapples are native to Southern Brazil and Paraguay. They were spread by the Indians up through South and Central America to Mexico and to the West Indies. Pineapples were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, and from there taken to Spain and then to other parts of the world.
 
Pineapples are a member of the Bromeliaceae family, which embraces about 2000 species and are composed of many flowers whose fruitlets are fussed around a core. Each fruitlet has an eye which is the spiny part on the surface of the pineapple. They are not only delicious but also extremely good for your health. Below are some of the health benefits of pineapples:

  • Pineapples are an excellent source of nutrients including calcium, potassium, manganese and vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, thiamin, copper and dietary fibre.
  • It is low in fat and cholesterol.
  • Pineapple helps you build healthy bones. As they are rich in manganese (a trace mineral needed by your body to build bone and connective tissue). Therefore pineapples can aid both in the growth and strengthening of bones.
  • One cup of fresh pineapple chunks provides 73% of the daily recommended amount of manganese.
  • Pineapple can also be used to dissolve warts. The enzymes contained in the pineapple speed up the process of elimination of warts. The most effective treatment is to soak a cotton ball with fresh pineapple juice and apply it to the wart.
  • Pineapple is good for fighting off coughs and colds. It has the same benefits as orange juice - even more! Pineapple contains bromelain, which has been found to help suppress coughs and loosen mucus.
  • As mentioned above pineapple contains an important enzyme call bromelain. This enzyme is the key to the many health benefits of pineapple. Bromelain, a group of sulfur containing proteolytic (protein digesting) enzymes, that aids in digestion and can effectively reduce inflammation and swelling. It can assist in the treatment of conditions such as acute sinusitis, sore throat, arthritis and gout, and also can help to speed up the recovery period from injuries and surgery. To maximize the benefit of bromelains' anti inflammatory effects, pineapple should be eaten by itself between meals; otherwise the enzyme will be used up digesting food and not working on the inflammation.
  • Due to the high vitamin C content in pineapples, this fruit is also good for your general oral health. Vitamin C can reduce the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease and increase the bodies ability to fight invading bacteria that contributes to gum disease.
  • Pineapple is NOT good for people with haemophilia or those with disease of the kidneys and liver. This is because pineapple seems to reduce the time taken to coagulate the blood which therefore makes it good for people with heart conditions.
  • Pineapples can be helpful in maintaining good eye health and gives protection against age related eye problems due to the high antioxidant content
  • Pineapple stems are also have hidden health benefits. Australian research has shown that there are certain molecules in the stem that act as a defense against certain types of cancer. These cancers include ovarian, breast, lung, colon and skin.
  • Pineapple can also help constipation, women suffering from painful periods, dyspepsia, bronchitis, high blood pressure, nausea, and may even help people with angina by removing plaque from arterial walls.

How to select and store your pineapple

  • Look for pineapples that are heavy for their size.
  • Choose a pineapple with fresh looking green leaves.
  • They should be free from soft spots, bruises and darkened “eyes” all of which indicate that the pineapple is past its prime.
  • Pineapples will stop ripening after they are picked and only get older, so choose fruit that has a fragrant sweet smell at the stem end.
  • Avoid pineapples that smell musty, sour or fermented.
  • You can leave the pineapple to sit for a few days at room temperature to make it softer and juicer to eat, although it won’t make it any sweeter. But be careful as they can spoil easily and should be watched carefully.
  • To keep a pineapple for longer than a day or two, wrap it in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge for up to five days.
  • If you cut the pineapple, store it in an airtight container, but use it as soon as possible.

Pineapples are like heaven to eat, and if you are craving chocolate a good juicy ripe pineapple can be just as satisfying to fend off that sweet craving plus it's a healthier choice. As you can see from the information above, there are many health benefits to eating a pineapple, including the obvious benefits of all the vitamins and minerals contained in this wonderful fruit. Why don’t you try a delicious organic pineapple?

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Genetically Modified Food

Posted on April 29, 2007 by Sarmaad

The genetic modifications of plants and animals is one of the biggest and most difficult environmental challenges of the 21st century. Did you know that GMOs are found extensively in many food products on the supermarket shelves and the chances are you have already eaten GMOs!!!

What is a genetically modified organism?

The general principal behind GMO is to insert DNA that has been taken from another organism and modified through genetic engineering techniques into an organism's genome to create both new and enhanced traits and phenotypes. By being able to take genetic material from one organism and insert it into the permanent genetic code of another, biotechnologists have engineered numerous creations, such as pigs with human growth genes, fish with cattle genes and so on.

What were the first crops?

The first commercially grown genetically modified food crop was the Flavr Savr tomato which was made more resistant to rotting. It was released into the market for sale in 1994. This tomato was found to cause damage to the stomachs of rats and was later taken off the market. This was followed by insect protected cotton and herbicide tolerant soybeans, which both were commercially released in 1996. Today the soybean is by far the world's most cultivated GM plant, followed by corn, cotton and canola.

The world leaders in GM crops

The United States accounts for nearly two thirds of all biotechnology crops planted globally. The GM food crops grown by US farmers include corn, cotton, soybeans, canola, squash and papaya. Other major producers of GM crops are Argentina, which plants primary biotech soybean; Canada, whose principal biotech crop is canola; Brazil, which has recently legalized the planting of GM soybean; China, where the acreage of GM cotton continues to increase; and South Africa, where cotton is also the principal biotech crop. Worldwide, about 672 million acres of land are under cultivation of which 25% or 167.2 million acres - an area twice the size of the UK- consists of GM crops.

Why GM crops?

Crops can destroyed by many different factors including insects, weeds and disease. GMO's are used to make crops herbicide tolerant and pesticide resistant, to increase their nutritional content, to make them taste better and to reduce their growing time and increase their tolerance to fluctuating temperatures.

Foods that have been genetically modified

GM foods have been available to the public since the1990s, so the invasion of GMOs will continue in our grocery stores and in our kitchen pantries. The most common crops which have been modified and to watch for include:

  • Maize.Soybean (Soy flour, soy oil, lecithin, soy protein isolates and concentrates).
  • Oilseed rape - canola (Oil, fabric).
  • Squash.
  • Potato (Right now the only potato that has been genetically engineered is the Burbank Russet, but you still have to look out for potato starch and flour).
  • Corn (flour, corn starch, corn oil, corn sweeteners, syrups).
  • Cotton
  • Dairy Products (Milk, cheese, butter, buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, whey).
  • Animal Products (Because animal feed often contains genetically engineered organisms, all animal products, or by-products may be affected).
Affects to human health and the environment

The GMO foods currently on the market have not undergone adequate testing to ensure their safety for human consumption and also to quantify what impact they have on the environment. Genetically engineered food can have a serious effect on human health, on wildlife and the environment. Human risks can include;
  • Allergic/ toxic reactions (to hidden genes and combination)
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Immune - suppression
  • Increased cancer risk
  • Unsuspected side effects
Environmental impacts can include;
  • Uncontrolled biological pollution
  • Threatening numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction.
  • Potential contamination of non-genetically engineered life forms with novel and possibly hazardous genetic material.
  • Increased use of and dependence on toxic herbicides.
  • Harm to farming (deformed crops, increased pest resistance, increased farmer costs and debt).
  • Crop failures.
  • Biodiversity (implications for biodiversity, the balance of wildlife and the environment).
  • Creation of GM "Superweeds" and "Superpests".
  • Damage to food quality and nutrition.
  • Ethical Issues
How to avoid GMO
  • The only guaranteed way to avoid eating GMOs is to buy fresh certified organic produce.
  • Read labels - When buying a product check the ingredients on the label. GM soybean and corn make up the largest portion of GE crops. If they are listed then there is a good chance it is GM. Remember the label does not have to declare that it contains GM ingredients.
  • Avoid processed foods - 70% of processed foods contain GM ingredients.
Australia and GMO

Australia is already commercially producing GE cotton. This cotton is known as BT cotton as it produces a genetically engineered toxin called Bacillus Thuringensis (BT). Bt cotton produces this toxin in every part of the plant so that the cotton plant itself becomes a pesticide factory. Bt cotton is not only used for cloth and cotton products but the cottonseed is crushed for oil used in food.

Australia is also commercially growing GE canola, carrying on trials of GE wheat and growing GE blue carnation flowers.

The major problem remains that genetic engineering is highly unpredictable and that the "jury is still out" as to what impact GMO crops will have on human beings and on the environment!

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