Pineapple is known to be a great meat tenderizer but being so, eating too much of it can also “tenderize” mouth, lips, tongue and cheeks. Pineapple’s health benefits though, outweigh the risks.
Pineapples are tropical fruit that are rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidents. They may help boost the immune system, build strong bones and aid indigestion. Also, despite their sweetness, pineapples are low in calories.
Pineapple can be incorporated into our diet in lots of ways – not only does it make a great addition to desserts such as fruit salad, but it’s also a great feature in savory dishes such in hamburgers and pizzas. Crushed pineapple can also be used in yogurt, jam, sweets, and ice cream.
As its health-promoting component, bromelain, is destroyed when heated, it’s best to eat pineapple raw. Nutrient levels are at their peak when the fruit is ripe.
Pineapple can flatten your tummy, prevent stomach distention and help your body burn a few extra calories. Additionally, pineapple contains one very important enzyme: bromelain, which is found in the stem and within the juice of a pineapple.
Bromelain is an enzyme that softens skin and has been used for hundreds of years in South and Central America to fight inflammation and swelling. Drinking pineapple juice helps the body synthesize collagen, which helps skin stay firm and flexible, while vitamin C and amino acids aid in cell and tissue repair.
A SHORT TRIVIA
- The word “pineapple,” is derived from the Spanish word piña, 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.
- Other countries that commercially grow pineapples include Thailand, the Philippines, China, Brazil and Mexico.
- Pineapple canneries use every bit of the pineapple. The skins, core and end portions are used to make a variety of products, including vinegar, alcohol and animal food.
- Rich Source of Immune Boosting Vitamin C – Pineapple has a whopping 131 percent of your daily value of antioxidant Vitamin C! Vitamin C is commonly used to minimize coughs, colds and flu symptoms. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a role in maintaining the health of the body’s connective tissue as well as acting as an antioxidant. 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. You can even add pineapple to homemade body scrubs to get these benefits. Because of the Vitamin C content in pineapple, this amazing fruit can help your body fight off free radical damage and reduce inflammation, which are known to contribute to the development of cancer. You can even add pineapple to homemade body scrubs to get these benefits. Because of the Vitamin C content in pineapple, this amazing fruit can help your body fight off free radical damage and reduce inflammation, which are known to contribute to the development of cancer.
- High in Fiber – Fruits that are high in fiber can lower your risk of colorectal cancer. Fiber can also lower your blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetics may show signs of improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. 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.
- 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.
- Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease – Pineapple supports heart health because of its fiber, potassium and vitamin C content. One of the benefits of pineapple juice is that it has cardio-protective abilities. A 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. Pineapple helps to reduce dangerous inflammation and restore healthy blood pressure due to its beneficial antioxidants. It 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. Bromelain has been shown to stop blood platelets from sticking together or building up along the walls of blood vessels – both known causes of heart attacks or strokes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Cytotoxity is when something is toxic to certain cells, and bromelain focuses on the cancerous cells only. No FDA approved cancer-treating drug on the market can yet emulate this process because chemo-toxic agents such as 5-FU do not behave like natural compounds.
- 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. Bromelain works on inflammation by blocking metabolites which cause swelling. It also acts to decrease swelling by activating a chemical in the blood that breaks down fibrin, thus leading to reduced swelling. Bromelain is often recommended to be taken before surgeries to speed healing time and decrease inflammation commonly associated with surgical procedures. A study was done on patients who are suffering from sinusitis, which is the inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. This can be caused by an infection, an allergy or an autoimmune issue. The study showed that the bromelain found in pineapple caused a significantly faster recovery than standard therapy.
- 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. Studies conducted in Japan showed that eating pineapple helped those who had celiac disease, an allergy to the protein gluten that is found in wheat, barley and rye products, due to the presence of the bromelain enzyme.
Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers. Consuming too much potassium can be harmful to those whose kidneys are noy fully functional. If your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal. Those with gastro-esophageal reflux duisease (GERD) may experience an increase uin symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation when consuming highly acidic foods. It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a varied diet than to focus on individual foods.
Because of the high amount of vitamin C that pineapples contain, consuming large quantities may induce diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or heart burn.
Additionally, extremely high amounts of bromelain can cause skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual bleeding, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Bromelain can also interact with some medications. Those taking antibiotics, anticoagulants, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, insomnia drugs and tricyclic antidepressants should be careful not to eat too much pineapple.
Eating unripe pineapple or drinking unripe pineapple juice is dangerous, reports the horticulture department at Purdue University. In this state, it is toxic to humans and can lead to severe diarrhea and vomiting. Eating a great deal of pineapple cores can also cause fiber balls to form in the digestive tract.
Grilled Aloha Chicken
- 1 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
- 3/4 c. Ketchup
- 1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 pineapple, sliced into rings and halved
- 1 tsp. canola oil
- Green onions, for garnish
- Make Marinade: In a large bowl, combine pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and ginger and whisk until combined.
- Add chicken to a large Ziploc bag or baking dish and pour over marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
- When ready to grill, heat grill to high. Oil grates and add chicken. Baste with marinade and grill until charred, 8 minutes per side.
- Toss pineapple with oil and grill until charred, 2 minutes.
- Serve chicken with pineapple and garnish with green onions.
Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops
- 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple rings, juice drained and reserved
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 pork chops
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- Mix together the drained pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder together in a large plastic zipper bag, and smush the bag a few times with your hands to mix the marinade and dissolve the sugar. Place the pork chops into the marinade, squeeze out any air in the bag, seal it, and refrigerate overnight. Reserve the pineapple rings.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
- Remove the chops from the marinade, shaking off excess, and grill until browned, the meat is no longer pink inside, and the meat shows good grill marks, 5 to 8 minutes per side. Brush several times with marinade and let the marinade cook onto the surface of the meat. Discard excess marinade. While the meat is grilling, place 4 pineapple rings onto the grill, and allow to cook until hot and the slices show grill marks; serve the chops topped with the grilled pineapple rings.
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