Pineapple has always been considered to be an exotic food. It is commonly used in refreshing beach drinks, pineapple actually has origins in the continent of South America. Historical facts suggest that pineapple has always been a native fruit of South America. However, it was brought back to the island of Hawaii by Christopher Columbus from where it was spread out all throughout the world.
Pineapple essentially comprises of a number of small berries which fuse together to form one single fruit. The pineapple closely resembles a pine cone from which it also derives its name. However, the colour and texture of the pineapple skin is quite different. It consists of shiny scales on the outside topped with a head of bright green coarse leaves. However, from the inside, the pineapple is extremely tender and juicy.
Nutrition Chart for a Pineapple
Pineapple is one fruit which is simply loaded with nutrition. Right from vitamins and minerals to the essential dietary fibre, pineapple has everything that your body needs to remain healthy. The following is a break up of the nutritional value of one cup or 160 gms. of chopped pineapple:
Vitamin C – 131%
Manganese – 77%
Vitamin B6 – 11%
Vitamin B1 – 11%
Fibre – 9%
Folate – 9%
Apart from this, pineapple also contains a significant amount of iron, calcium and magnesium. In spite of its sweet taste, pineapple is a relatively low-calorie fruit and contains only about 14 gms sugar.
How is Pineapple Healthy for You?
Pineapple may be considered as an exotic fruit because of its sweet taste but it is in fact one of the healthiest fruits you can have. Since pineapple tastes so refreshingly sweet and can even be had in the form of juice, it is all the more reason to enjoy this amazing fruit and avail of its many health benefits.
1. Protects you against the common cold, sinusitis etc. – Pineapple is a rich source of Vitamin C which is said to be the star vitamin for developing immunity against any infection related to the throat or nose. Eating a few freshly cut pieces of pineapple will not only prevent sinus infections but will also help in a speedy recovery from cold or cough.
2. Strengthens the bones – Pineapple contains an impressive amount of manganese along with calcium and iron all of which are extremely beneficial for maintaining strong bones. A person who incorporates pineapple in his daily diet is less likely to suffer from conditions like arthritis later on in life.
3. Prevents macular degeneration and improves eye-sight – Pineapple is often recommended for improving clarity in vision. Macular degeneration occurs in most people with age when the eye-sight starts to weaken. Eating pineapple ensures that the body has a constant supply of beta-carotene which improves vision and slows down the process of macular degeneration.
4. Helps in easy digestion – Pineapple contains a lot of fibre, especially when eaten in its raw form and not in the form of juice. This dietary fibre ensures that the stomach is easily able to digest the food. Chances of constipation as well as dyspepsia are minimized in a person who has even 100 gms of pineapple in a day. Pineapple also contains bromelain which helps the stomach to break down and absorb proteins which are considerably tougher to digest.
5. Builds the body immunity – Along with vitamin C, pineapple also contains a number of other anti-oxidants which cleanse the blood stream. Vitamin C also helps in fighting against cell damage which ultimately makes the body stronger and more immune to infections.
6. Anti-inflammatory properties can help in a number of diseases – Anti-inflammatory properties basically mean that the nutrients and minerals in pineapple have the ability to reduce any inflammation occurring in any internal part of the body. Due to this property, pineapple is said to be good for the heart as it keeps the arteries functioning properly. Moreover, it can also prevent and reduce inflammation in the joints and thus cure joint pains, arthritis etc.
7. Pineapple to prevent cancer – Some specific types of cancer which involve inflamed cancerous growths, for example, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer etc. can also be prevented through pineapple. Though pineapple cannot cure the cancer, it can still inhibit further growth of the cancerous cells. This is again due to the presence of the enzyme bromelain which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Best Ways to Use Pineapple
The most important point to keep in mind is that all the health benefits of pineapple are available only with a fresh, ripe pineapple. Canned pineapple or syrupy pineapple are generally stripped of all the nutrients and are therefore not at all healthy for the body.
The best way to eat pineapple is in its most natural form i.e. as a part of a tropical salad. You can either eat only pineapple or mix it up with strawberries, grapes and oranges. In fact, people often relish pineapple with coconut shavings also. Alternatively, pineapple juice made from fresh pineapple is also a great way to take in all the goodness of this amazing fruit. Some other ways through which you can make pineapple a part of your diet are:
Have a couple of slices of pineapple with your dinner or lunch. This will add refreshing flavour to your meal apart from supplementing your body with Vitamin C and fibre. You can also have pineapple as an appetizer along with vinaigrette dressing. Roasted pineapple has also become a rage in modern times. Pineapple can also be used in making a salsa sauce to give it an exotic twist. The sauce can then be used as a dip or as a regular salsa sauce. Last but not the least, pineapple can even be used for decorative purposes as they are easy to carve into many nice designs.