The word "pineapple," derived from the Spanish word , was first used in 1398 to refer to a pinecone. This changed about 300 years later, with the word "pinecone" being introduced so pineapple could be used exclusively for the fruit. Pineapples were discovered by Europeans in 1493 on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe. Early attempts by Europeans to cultivate the fruit failed until they realized that the fruit needs a tropical climate to flourish. By the end of the 16th century, Portuguese and Spanish explorers introduced pineapples into their Asian, African and South Pacific colonies. Because pineapples are very perishable, fresh pineapples were a rarity for early American colonists. Glazed, sugar-coated pineapples were a luxurious treat, and fresh pineapple itself became a symbol of prestige and social class. Pineapples were first cultivated in Hawaii in the 18th century. Hawaii is the only U.S. state in which they are still grown.
Pineapples are tropical fruit that are rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. They may help boost the immune system, build strong bones and aid indigestion. Also, despite their sweetness, they are low in calories. Pineapples are members of the bromeliad family, and one of the few bromeliads to produce edible fruit, according to the biology department at . The fruit is actually made of many individual berries that fuse together around a central core. Each pineapple scale is an individual berry.
Pineapples are a storehouse of several health benefits due to their nutrients. They contain bromelain, protein, carbohydrates, sugar, and soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. The vitamins in these fruits include vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamin, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, and folate. Minerals like potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, sodium, and magnesium are also found in pineapples. These tropical fruits are low in calories and are, therefore, a major part of weight loss diets.
Health Benefits of Pineapple
1. Rich Source of Immune Boosting Vitamin C
Pineapple has a whopping 131 percent of your daily value of antioxidant Vitamin C! As an antioxidant it has the ability to synthesize collagen, which is the main protein in the body responsible for maintaining healthy blood vessels and organs. The vitamin C that is found in pineapple can also help skin problems, like a sunburn or dried and irritated skin.
2. High in Fiber
Being that one medium pineapple contains about 13 grams of fiber, eating pineapple is a great way to maximize these health benefits. Because of its high fiber content, one of the benefits of pineapple is that it can help to prevent constipation and will promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.
3. Improves Fertility
Studies show that eating foods that are rich in antioxidants can help prevent infertility.Because free radicals can damage the reproductive system, foods with high antioxidant activity like pineapples that battle these free radicals are recommended for people who are trying to conceive.
The antioxidants in pineapple, such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and the other vitamins and minerals that are present, including copper, affect both male and female fertility. Antioxidants have been shown to help increase blood flow and restore proper tissue formation in the genital organs, plus they can assist in boosting sperm count.
4. Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease
Pineapple supports heart health because of its fiber, potassium and vitamin C content. One study found that one of the benefits of pineapple juice if that it has cardio-protective abilities, as seen in studies done on rats. The study concluded that pineapple juice can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and can help establish digestion and absorption.
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
Fruits that are high in potassium can also help with lowering high blood pressure.Pineapple helps to reduce dangerous inflammation and restore healthy blood pressure due to its beneficial antioxidants.
Pineapple also helps improve heart health because of the effects of powerful bromelain, which can fight blood clotting and is nature’s answer to those taking an aspirin a day to lower the risk of heart attack.
5. Prevents Asthma
The beta-carotene that is found in plant foods like pineapple helps to lower the risk of developing asthma. Toxins, poor nutrition, pollution, antibiotic abuse and stress play a large role in the development of asthma. All of these factors cause inflammation, but luckily one of the benefits of pineapple is that it can help to reduce through its detoxifying capabilities.
6. Helps Mental Health
Another one of the benefits of pineapple is that it helps improve your mood and helps fight depression and anxiety. Pineapple is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is used by the body to produce enough serotonin, one of our main “happy hormones.” Consuming enough of this amino acid, in addition to other nutrients like B vitamins, is important to support your neurological system, for energy, and for the production of good mood hormones.
7. Helps Fight Cancer
In 2007, researchers published a groundbreaking article in the Plant Medical Journal about pineapple’s bromelain being found to be far more effective than the traditional chemo-agent used in the treatment of cancer.
In tests treating cancer in animals, bromelain was found to be more effective than 5-fluoracil (5-FU) when compared to an untreated control group. 5-FU has been used in the treatment of cancer for over 40 years, but its main problem is that it kills or irreversibly damages healthy cells and tissue as well as cancerous ones.
Bromelain was not only found to be more effective but was also many times safer than 5-FU. Natural compounds, such as bromelain, have selective cytotoxity and they are able to kill cancerous cells in a self-disassembly process called apoptosis, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
8. Reduces Inflammation
The benefits of pineapple include the ability to help those suffering from arthritis and joint pain because the bromelain that is present can speed up healing associated with surgical procedures. It is also very useful for treating sporting injuries including sprains and can help counter pain.
9. Aids in Digestion
For digestion, eating pineapple serves as a powerful aid in breaking down proteins into peptides and amino acids. It can ease the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, acid reflux, and it helps the general digestive processes. It’s also useful in helping to prevent autoimmune responses due to common food allergies.
10. Treats Cough and Cold
Pineapple is rich in both bromelain and vitamin C, therefore it helps in preventing and treating respiratory illnesses while eliminating phlegm and mucus from your body if you’ve already contracted an illness or infection. These two nutrients are connected with the reduction of phlegm and mucus build up in the respiratory tracts and sinus cavities.
11. Improves Bone Health
Pineapple contains an impressive amount of manganese. Manganese is a trace mineral essential for the strengthening of bones as well as their growth and repair. It is the most prominent mineral in pineapple, and a single serving can provide you with more than 70% of your daily requirement of this mineral.
12. Improves Oral Health
Along with the antioxidants that protect against oral cancer, pineapple also has astringent properties, which strengthen gums and teeth. Pineapple is a very powerful astringent and is often prescribed as a natural remedy to fix the loosening of teeth or the retraction of gums. Astringent agents help tighten up tissues and tone the body so that tooth loss, hair loss, muscle weakness, and skin loosening do not occur.
13. Improves Vision
Pineapple has the ability to improve eye health and prevent other age-related eye diseases. Macular degeneration affects many elderly people and beta-carotene present in pineapple can help prevent this vision problem.
14. Dissolves Kidney Stones
By regulating digestion and reducing blood clotting, pineapples help in dissolving kidney stones. Eat the bromelain-rich fruit or drink its juice to keep the kidneys safe and stones away!
Fun Tip: If you are planning to consume a pineapple, cut the crown and keep the fruit in the fridge placing it upside down. Generally, the sweetness settles at the bottom of the fruit and this will help in distributing it throughout the pineapple.
|By: Nataliya Olifer|