Pineapple Nutrition Benefits Abound
If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain then good news! Pineapple nutrition benefits you in more ways than one.
Not only is pineapple juice a vital ingredient in this delicious cocktail but after you get caught in the rain the pineapple may actually help ward off sickness.
Now we’ve established that you’ve probably come across pineapples before and enjoyed the sweet, tangy taste, you might be led to the question - where did we discover this unusual fruit?
A native to South America, European explorers discovered this tropical fruit in the Americas, with the first recorded reference appearing as early 1664.
The word "pineapple" in English was first recorded to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees, which we now know commonly as pine cones.
The large, cone-shaped fruit is actually a mass of hundreds of flowers, all fused together in that recognisable eye-like pattern around a central core.
The original name of the fruit, ananas comosus, comes from the Tupi word nanas, meaning "excellent fruit" and comosus or "tufted", refers to the stem of the fruit.
If your French isn’t too rusty, you probably recognise part of the original name: Ananas.
It’s an incredibly interesting and unusual fruit and we haven’t even mentioned the ways pineapple nutrition benefits you!
Pineapple: A Fashionable Fruit
Such is the exotic nature of the pineapple that it became a symbol of wealth and luxury in America and Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. This was also because it was extremely hard to grow and import.
One pineapple could fetch up to $8000!
They were mostly used as centerpieces for elaborate table displays - more for gloating than eating - which is a shame as even the aristocracy could have benefitted from actually eating them. Pineapple nutrition benefits everyone!
Traditionally, tropical medicines have harnessed the goodness of pineapples to treat a range of ailments, from liver disease to constipation.
It is most popularly used for its bromelain content and the effects it has on digestion. Many people on high protein diets like to use bromelain supplements to help them digest large amounts of protein.
At brazilian barbecues or “Churrasco,” grilled pineapple is often served as a side dish to complement the huge amounts of meat everyone eats. And if they’re really smart, they’ll even add cinnamon to the pineapple to help lower the glycemic index.
Pineapple Nutrition Benefits, Finally!
Like all whole foods, pineapple contains a spectrum of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that work synergistically (that’s just a fancy way of saying united or together).
However, pineapple receives the most attention for these great nutritional features:
→ High vitamin C content.
→ Impressive levels of manganese.
→ A special enzyme - or, complex group of enzymes and cofactors - collectively named ‘bromelain’.
It is always great to have a short list of what we are getting, but understanding what these constituents do is key to understanding the ways in which pineapple nutrition benefits our bodies.
Good old vitamin C, where would we be without it? Scurvy, anyone?
As one of the major antioxidants in the human body it is crucial for healthy immune function, free-radical defence, healthy formation of new tissue (such as collagen) and the way the body deals with stress.
Not one of the X-men, but an element that plays a crucial role in the formation of superoxide dismutase (SOD), another incredibly important antioxidant produced in the body.
We have touched on this already but let’s break it down, which is exactly what bromelain does!
This exciting and well-studied compound has been shown to:
✔ Aid protein digestion in the stomach and relieve dyspepsia.
✔ Act as a decongestant in rhinitis and allergies by reducing inflammatory proteins.
✔ Attack viruses, unhealthy cells and other invaders that ‘cloak’ themselves in a protein coating.
✔ Enhance the body’s ability to heal and repair, by breaking down unhealthy tissue.
✔ Reduce inflammation by breaking down protein-based inflammatory cytokines.
Bromelain may also:
→ Act as an antioxidant
→ Enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics
→ Enhance immune function
→ Interfere with the growth of unhealthy cells that lead to cancer
→ Interact with fat cells, improving weight loss
→ Reduce muscle soreness
→ Assist in cases of inflammatory bowel disease
→ Assist in Type 1 Diabetes by reducing pancreatic inflammation
→ Improve cardiovascular health by stimulating circulation and reducing the risk of clotting
→ Protect the brain (more evidence required)
Wow that is quite a list. That means, pineapple may assist everything from digestion and allergic rhinitis to arthritis and cardiovascular function.
Pineapple Nutrition Benefits From Fresh Fruit Concentrate
Pineapple concentrate has been included in Athletic Greens because it's not something that most people consume on a regular basis. This is despite pineapple’s availability being so much better than it was two to three centuries ago.
Thanks to the bromelain, it can provide a healthy digestion boost that most people could benefit from. Having said that, the recommended dosage for pineapple fresh fruit concentrate depends on the reason you are using it.
For improved digestion, it’s best to work up gradually to a dose between 200 – 2,000mg with meals.
People are typically advised to monitor their own tolerance and find a dosage that suits them. For all other conditions dosages range from 200 - 800mg. Fortunately, for acute digestive discomfort, it can work really quickly - literally in less than an hour.
Pineapple is cautioned in people taking blood thinning medication and for pregnant women. On that note, it is a common wives’ tale that the consumption of fresh pineapple can induce labour. I’m sure many women at the 40 week mark are looking for absolutely anything that might speed the process up.
Most evidence supports the use of pineapple for managing the symptoms of dyspepsia (indigestion), due to its anti-inflammatory effects. It works well with the ginger and rose hip content in Athletic Greens, and as a digestive enzyme it also works well with the papain (from papaya) that is also included.
These same anti-inflammatory effects may be enhanced by the citrus bioflavonoids in Athletic Greens to help fight common diseases such as asthma, osteoarthritis and allergic rhinitis.
There’s emerging - and exciting - research to suggest pineapple could play a positive role in cancer treatment, cardiovascular health and Type 1 Diabetes. Oh pineapple, you wonderful, spiky creature.
Hopefully you’re as convinced as I am that the pineapple nutrition benefits are well worth seeking out.Cocktail anyone?