When it comes to superfood, think of pineapple! It’s loaded with tons of health benefits including an immune system booster. That’s what makes the fresh pineapple fruit a super superfood!
I emphasize on ‘fresh’ because the facts don’t necessarily apply to the canned pineapples.
Scientifically known as Ananas comosus, pineapples are tropical plants. They commonly grow in the Philippines, Thailand, China, Brazil, and Mexico. But they also thrive in Hawaii, the only US state that grows them. Pineapple is sticky, sweet, and generally juicy – exceptionally juicy, indeed! I say generally because sometimes if you’re not lucky, it can be tangy and sour. Nevertheless, each fruit is powerfully loaded with tons of vitamins, minerals, and of course, bromelain. A cup of fresh cut pineapple give you these much benefits:
- Vitamin C – 131% RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance)
- Manganese – 76% RDA
- Copper – 9% RDA
- Vitamin B6 – 9% RDA
- Folate – 7% RDA
- Magnesium – 5% RDA
- Potassium – 5% RDA
- Vitamin A – 2% RDA
- Calories – 82
- Carbohydrates – 22 grams
- Fiber – 2 grams
- Protein – 1 gram
- Fat – 0 gram
Beware, though, because that same cup contains a little bit over 16 grams of sugar. And that’s nearly half the daily recommended amount in one snack.
Now, let’s explore the many benefits of the pineapple fruit.
Bromelain. One of the most important enzymes found in pineapple is bromelain. Bromelain is a compound of several substances that can be drawn from the core fruit and stem. It has been used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory agent. Bromelain also eases hay fever symptoms, slow blood clotting, and promotes absorption of antibiotics. It also facilitates the treatment of various ailments, such as:
- acute sinusitis
- a sore throat
- bowel disorders
- acute constipation
- gastric irritability
- venereal disease
- suppressing coughs and loosen mucus
- a powerful aid in removing intestinal worms
- controls the growth of tumors and malignant cells
Bromelain aids in the digestion of protein. Meaning, if you consume pineapple with other foods, expect bromelain to digest the other food.
And, have you tried using pineapple in cooking meat? Well, aside from enhancing the flavor of your dish, the bromelain content in pineapple juice works effectively as a natural meat tenderizer.
Vitamins and minerals. Fresh pineapple fruits are a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, like:
- Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K
- pantothenic acid
- dietary fiber
- manganese to help fortify and maintain healthy bones
In addition, pineapples are an effective laxative and a natural contraceptive. Its fruit, juice, and peel have been used to treat corns, tumors, and warts. While, its leaf juice is said to have effective purgative, emmenagogue, and vermifuge properties.
Please take note, however, that pineapples are not a commonly allergenic food. The fruit is also not known to have measurable content of oxalates or purines. Some studies even include pineapples in the list of Allergy Avoidance Diets, partly due to its bromelain content and the abovementioned concerns.
Tips on how to select, store, and cut pineapples
Know that pineapples stop ripening as soon as they are harvested. So, when buying pineapples, take these simple tips:
- If you prefer large pineapples, choose the heavier ones because they have the greater proportion of edible flesh. Although, this does not mean they are also greater in quality.
- Make sure that they are free of bruises, soft spots, and darkened “eyes”. These characteristics indicate that the fruits are past its prime.
- Smell the stem end of the pineapple and choose that which has a fragrant sweet smell. Don’t get the one that has a musty, sour or fermented smell.
- You may leave the pineapple at room temperature for one or two days before serving. This helps the fruit become softer and juicier. If you are not going to consume the pineapple within those days, you should wrap it in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator to extend its freshness up to five days.
- Pineapples that have been cut up must be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container to keep it fresher and retain its juiciness and taste. Don’t freeze the fruit because it can affect its flavor.
So, there you have it! A cup of fresh pineapple may be all you need to keep you healthy all day.