Pining for pineapple
Christopher Columbus was the first European to see a pineapple, supposedly naming it because it reminded him of a pine cone. In Europe pineapples became the preserve of the rich, especially in northern climes, as hothouses were required to grow them. As a result, they became a symbol of opulence and hospitality. Then, in 1911 Henry Ginaca invented a pineapple peeling and coring machine, revolutionising the mass production of canned pineapple and helping to make it one of the most popular tropical fruits in the world.
Today fresh pineapple is readily available. Naturally sweet, juicy and deliciously tangy, it’s also remarkably rich in a range of health boosting nutrients:
- vitamin C, the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, aiding against free radicals
- manganese, a trace mineral important in energy production, antioxidant defence and vital for bone health and connective tissue
- phosphorous, potassium, copper, magnesium and calcium – all important to enhance the function of the immune system.
It’s believed Pineapple could help with regulating the functioning of the thyroid gland. Moreover, pineapple contains beta-carotene important for eyesight. According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology eating 3 or more portions of fruit daily may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the primary cause of loss of vision in older adults.
Finally, bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples and fresh pineapple juice, may be useful in improving immune function and preventing breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. More research is needed to verify the exact benefits of bromelain, but it appears to help prevent tissue damage and burns caused by chemotherapy and, along with other standard cancer treatments, may reduce the overall side effects of chemotherapy.
Consuming fresh pineapple regularly could aid digestion, increasing the metabolic rate of the body and lowering fat storage, while also controlling symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion and tiredness.
Eat pineapple at least 2-3 times a week for a healthier you. And you don’t need to worry about fresh preparation; according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cutting, packaging and chilling fruit does not significantly affect its nutritional content, even after 6 and up to 9 days.
My tip – make a large fruit salad at the weekend, store it in the fridge and enjoy all week.
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