Pineapples: The Healing Fruit of the Tropics
By Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc.
For a natural and tasty way to improve your health and boost your
healing capacity, add fresh pineapple and pineapple juice to your
diet. Pineapples are nutritionally packed members of the bromeliad
family. This delightful tropical fruit is high in the enzyme bromelain
and the antioxidant vitamin C, both of which plays a major role
in the body's healing process.
Bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory with analgesic properties,
encourages healing, promotes well-being and has many other health
benefits. Bromelain is very effective in treating bruises, sprains
and strains by reducing swelling, tenderness and pain. This powerful
anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect can also help relieve
osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and reduce postoperative
swelling. Additionally, bromelain can relieve indigestion. The
enzyme contained in fresh pineapple helps break down the amino
acid bonds in proteins, which promotes good digestion.
Pineapples also provide an ample supply of vitamin C, a commonly
known antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage
and boosts the immune system. Vitamin C helps build and repair
bodily tissue and promotes wound healing. The body uses vitamin
C to help metabolize fats and cholesterol, absorb iron, and synthesize
amino acids and collagen. Collagen is one of the primary building
blocks of skin, cartilage and bones. Vitamin C also decreases
the severity of colds and infections.
Furthermore, due to its high vitamin C content, pineapples are
good for your oral health as well. Recent studies have found
that vitamin C can reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal
disease. Besides increasing the ability of connective tissue
to repair itself, vitamin C also increases the body's ability
to fight invading bacteria and other toxins that contribute to
gum disease. Periodontal disease, which destroys gum tissue and
underlying jaw bones, has been linked to heart disease, stroke
and type 2 diabetes.
So if you are searching for a natural way to enhance your body's
healing mechanisms, promote overall good health and tantalize
your taste buds, pineapples are the way to go. Choose the fresh
fruit because it has the most healing properties. Unfortunately,
most of the bromelain in canned pineapple is destroyed due to
the heat used in the canning process.
When choosing a fresh pineapple, do not judge ripeness solely
based upon color. There are several varieties on the market that
range from green to golden yellow. The most important factor
in determining ripeness is smell, let your nose help you decide.
Ripe pineapples give off a sweet, fresh tropical smell. Avoid
pineapples that give off an unpleasant odor or have any soft
spots or areas of dark discoloration. Once home, let the pineapple
sit on your counter at room temperature until ready to use. This
will preserve its sweet and tangy flavor.
To prepare pineapple, you need to peel it, remove the eyes (the
thorny protrusions within the puffy squares of the skin) and
the fibrous center. One way to do this is to remove the top of
the pineapple with a sharp knife. Then cut the pineapple lengthwise
into 4 wedges (quarter it) and place each pineapple wedge horizontally
on a cutting board. Carefully cut the fruit from the outer skin,
and cut out the eyes and fibrous center core.
Another way is to cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple,
place the pineapple vertically (upright) on a cutting board and
carefully slice off the outer skin. With a sharp paring knife
or the end if a vegetable peeler, remove the eyes. Don't cut
too deep, just enough to lift out the section that contains the
eye. Then, slice the pineapple crosswise and remove the fibrous
core individually with a cookie cutter.
Once the fruit is prepared, it can be diced and eaten fresh,
added to salads and entrees for an exotic flavor, or made into
tasty tropical drinks and smoothies.
To get you started, try Monique N. Gilbert's delicious, nutritious,
cholesterol-free smoothie recipe. It's high in bromelain, vitamin
C, beta carotene, potassium, thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin
(vitamin B-2), iron, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and soy isoflavones.
Pina-Banana Orange Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup soymilk
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
Place all of the above ingredients in a food processor
or blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
Makes about 2-3/4 cups (2 servings).
Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert. All rights reserved. 04/08/05
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. is a Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle
Coach; Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor; Recipe Developer
and Author. She has offered
guidance in natural health, nutrition, fitness, weight-loss and stress management
About the Author
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. has received international recognition for helping
people get healthy, manage stress, lose weight and keep it off. Through her
coaching program and writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve
your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical
activity and healthy stress-free living.