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 â€œeyesâ€ 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 wonâ€™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 donâ€™t you try a delicious organic pineapple?