An Overview of the Pineapple
Pineapples have a unique anatomy that can be better explained scientifically: the fruit is made of many individual berries that grow together around a central core. Each pineapple scale is thus an individual flower, and the fruit is part of the bromeliad family.
The pineapple originated in Brazil in South America, after which it later traveled to Europe. It soon became popular among the royal families and the elite on the Old Continent, thanks to its exquisite taste and unusual look.
James Dole is the person to be thankful to for the popularization of the pineapple since he strived tremendously to get this fruit to become canned and affordable throughout the USA. First, he developed a vast pineapple plantation in Hawaii, after which he started canning the pineapple and buying magazine ads to promote this new and affordable way to consume this exotic fruit. Under these circumstances and towards this personal mission, James Dole founded the Dole Food Company, whose stickers and logo many people still recognize today in supermarkets on bananas, pineapples, and other fruits.
Southeast Asia is currently the world’s largest pineapple producer in the world. However, pineapples take quite some time to grow since their development process on the plant is pretty slow – altogether, it takes about two years to grow the pineapple fruit. This is one of the reasons why pineapple is also highly valued in the fruit industry and among fruit lovers everywhere.
The pineapple got its name due to its striking resemblance to pine cones, the reproductive organs of conifer trees. The first recording of this English word was in 1398, which attests to this fruit’s incredible resilience and popularity throughout the centuries. Nowadays, pineapples are America’s second favorite tropical fruit, after bananas. The season for pineapples typically runs from March through June – however, you can find them in supermarkets any time of the year.
The shape of the pineapple is that of a wide cylinder, and the outer rough and spiny surface comprises a myriad of different’ eyes.’ The outer skin may be green, brown, or yellow, and the pineapple’s top is adorned with a regal crown of blue-green leaves. You can expect the pineapple to be much sweeter towards the bottom of the fruit, where the sugar content is much higher.
What’s In a Pineapple?
Pineapples are incredibly alluring through their exquisite taste and impressive aspect and are some of nature’s finest fruits in terms of nutrition. The health benefits of this fruit have been widely discussed, and you can see why below, where we’ll take a closer look at a pineapple’s nutritional value. Having said this, by eating a cup of pineapple chunks (165g), you can expect to benefit from the following nutrients:
- 21.6 g of carbohydrates
- 142 g water – This impressive amount of water per serving makes pineapple an extremely hydrating fruit.
- 2% of the DRV (Daily Recommended Value) protein
- 2% of the DRV vitamin A – This vitamin is essential in maintaining the eyes’ health, protecting them from the inevitable damage associated with aging.
- 131% of the DRV vitamin C – As you can see, pineapple contains even more vitamin C than your daily recommended dose. This vitamin is essential in building, maintaining, and repairing tissues in the body. It also plays a vital part in forming collagen and maintaining the health of your blood cells. Vitamin C is, after all, an antioxidant, which means that it will protect you from the toxic impact that a heavily polluted environment may have on you, together with smoking and alcohol.
- 1% of the DRV vitamin K is responsible for the healthy healing of injuries and cuts. It promotes proper blood clotting, so you don’t lose a lot of blood when you suffer an injury. Vitamin K also helps regulate blood flow during menstrual periods.
- 9% of the DRV thiamine or vitamin B1 – This vitamin supports the healthy flow of electrolytes into and out of the muscle and nerve cells. It also helps prevent complications in the brain, nervous system, heart, intestines, and muscles.
- 3% of the DRV riboflavin or vitamin B2 helps the body manage its energy supply. It also enables oxygen to be more efficiently used in the body.
- 4% of the DRV niacin or vitamin B3 – Vitamin B3 helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood, ease arthritis and boost brain function.
- 9% of the DRV vitamin B6 – This vitamin may reduce symptoms of depression and may help treat anemia, among other benefits.
- 7% of the DRV folate or vitamin B9 – This vitamin helps produce red blood cells while stimulating DNA synthesis, which controls heredity.
- 4% of the DRV pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 – Like all B vitamins, this vitamin helps the body efficiently convert food into energy.
- 2% of the DRV calcium – This is an essential mineral for the health of your bone system. It also enables better blood clotting and muscle contraction.
- 3% of the DRV iron – This mineral ensures that oxygen is carried adequately through the red blood cells throughout the body.
- 5% of the DRV magnesium – You can count on magnesium to alleviate any symptoms of depression and anxiety while supporting proper muscle and nerve function.
- 1% of the DRV phosphorus – This mineral’s primary function is forming healthy bones and teeth. It also helps the body efficiently use carbs and fats.
- 5% of the DRV potassium – When you have a sufficient potassium intake in the body, you can rest assured your fluid levels are regulated, as well as your nerve signals and muscle contractions.
- 1% of the DRV zinc – This mineral helps boost your immune system and metabolism function.
- 9% of the DRV copper – Copper helps prevent certain cardiovascular diseases and plays a vital role in energy production.
- 76% of the DRV manganese – although pretty underrated, this mineral is significant in metabolizing carbs, amino acids, and cholesterol and in bone development. Manganese may also help prevent osteoporosis and decrease epileptic seizures while managing blood sugar levels.
One of the essential attributes of the pineapple is that it contains an impressive amount of antioxidants, making it earn its rightful place among the best antioxidant fruits.
Vitamin C, phenolic acids, and flavonoids are especially abundant in pineapples, which means your body will be more thoroughly protected against the harmful impact of free radicals in the body. These toxic compounds accelerate the body’s natural aging process, and they often stem from a polluted environment, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
Apart from this, studies such as Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activities of Common Fruits show that many of the antioxidants in pineapples are bound, which means their positive effects are more long-lasting and more resilient in harsh bodily conditions.
Pineapples also contain a set of digestive enzymes called bromelain. These are especially useful to those suffering from pancreatic insufficiency, a severe condition where the pancreas cannot create enough digestive enzymes. These patients typically notice better and smoother digestion when taking a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain. Pineapple bromelain is also used commercially as a meat tenderizer since it can break down tough meat proteins.
The same bromelain makes pineapple an ideal aid in suppressing inflammation and boosting immunity. This is what made this fruit so prevalent in traditional medicine throughout the centuries. One study, Effects of Canned Pineapple Consumption on Nutritional Status, Immunomodulation, and Physical Health of Selected School Children,
shows that children who regularly ate pineapple showed a decreased risk of bacterial and viral infections.
Similarly, pineapples also help those who have arthritis, a condition that involves inflammation in the joints. This condition usually manifests with painful symptoms that make the patient uncomfortable and uneasy. Studies have shown that the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be significantly alleviated by consuming pineapple regularly, thanks to the bromelain it contains. However, scientists don’t recommend eating pineapple as a definitive treatment against the painful symptoms of arthritis – if you’re suffering from this condition, make sure you consult your physician.
Pineapples’ anti-inflammatory properties are also tremendously helpful in recovering from surgery or strenuous exercise. Bromelain reduces the markers of inflammation and will help recover the damaged muscle tissue.
These beneficial properties against inflammation and oxidative stress also make pineapples efficient aids in preventing cancer. However, more studies are needed to conclude that pineapple can prevent cancer from developing in the body.
Another health condition where pineapple knows how to shine is IBS.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an embarrassing condition to have. Not many people would admit that they even have this ailment. IBS is often caused by the food you eat. To avoid diarrhea and constipation, a healthy preventive measure is to eat pineapples.
This spiky fruit with many eyes is high in antioxidants and fiber. Best to be eaten ripe to help your digestive system; the pineapple also has bromelain. The unripe pineapple might make your IBS worse. Canned ripe pineapples are also a good alternative.
Other benefits of the pineapple are that it helps regulate hormones in your thyroid and helps ease the pain felt in arthritis. Also, if you have worms in your intestines, the purgative qualities of the pineapple can give you a hand. It is also helpful when you feel nauseous.
Eating a slice of pineapple after a meal will improve digestion and IBS. This will lessen gas build-up and help make your bowel movement go smoothly. Do not overeat, though, since fiber balls may clog your intestines.
How to Use Pineapple
Pineapple is such a sweet, aromatic, and versatile fruit that you can quickly get creative with how you consume it. You can:
- Eat it raw – there’s nothing more satisfying than simply cutting a pineapple up and eating chunks of it as a delicious and refreshing dessert.
- Include it in your breakfast – Add pineapple to your morning smoothie and combine it with other fruits as your heart desires. Make sure to blend it all with Greek yogurt, which is indeed smooth and nutritious.
- Create a salad – That’s right. Pineapples work well in salads, too, since they can give a twist to an otherwise classic recipe and taste. You can, for example, mix roast chicken with almonds, blueberries, and pineapple.
- Add pineapple to your burger – This recipe is more representative of Hawaii and requires you to place a pineapple ring over your beef patty. The resulting taste will be a wonderful, exotic mix that will thrill your palate.
- Make a Hawaiian pizza – The Hawaiian pizza is already famous worldwide, and it simply means adding chunks of pineapple to an otherwise classic pizza recipe.
- Get more creative with your desserts – You can easily create a wonderful fruit salad for yourself with a mix that contains everything that suits your taste, and that will boost your immune system. Pineapple goes along great with anything. You can also make pineapple muffins and cakes, and the list can go on and on.
- You can juice it – It’s a shame letting your pineapple go to waste so that you can freeze it and later juice it or include it in smoothies.
It’s really up to you how willing you are to experiment in the kitchen because pineapple tends to add an exotic twist to anything you add it to. This fruit is the perfect zesty, juicy punch to be added to any dish – try your hand at some of the many pineapple recipes out there.
Ultimately, it’s easy to see why pineapples made such hype for themselves. They are the definition of tropical fruits, with both an exotic taste and lush appearance, and they are easy to incorporate into any dish you can think of. Apart from this, pineapples can also ease inflammation in the body, leading to a decreased risk of cancer and a decrease in painful arthritis symptoms. Additionally, they also help prevent unpleasant conditions from occurring, such as IBS. So what’s not to love about these miracle antioxidant fruits?
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