So what's with all this 80s stuff? Meet Vegan Vince

The Many Uses and Health Benefits of Pineapple

What would you think if I told you there is a food from which you can make things as diverse as alcohol, vinegar, animal feed, diuretics, and a cleanser for boat decks and knife blades? It has even been used to induce labor. This fragrant fruit is actually a composite of numerous individual flowers that fuse together forming fruitlets that surround a central core. Each of these fruitlets possesses a spiny eye on the fruit’s surface. Got any guesses?

health_benefits_of_pineapple_picEach plant only produces one fruit per year, fruit which have been known to reach up to 20 lbs. and in actuality can take up to two years to reach full size. They are barrel shaped and yellow-brown in color when fully ripe. In the eighteenth century this fresh fruit was a sought after sign of prestige and privilege, a real social status symbol. Do you know what it is now?

This fruit is thought to have originated in South America and the Islands of the Caribbean. It thrives in tropical climates and is now only raised in one U.S. state, Hawaii, but it is also cultivated in Thailand, Mexico, China, Brazil, and the Philippines. It received its English name due to its physical similarity in appearance to a pinecone. Did that give it away?

If you figured out that I’m talking about the pineapple, you are so right. If you didn’t, what were you thinking? I recently read that the pineapple is second only to bananas as America’s favorite fruit. For most consumers they embody the perfect fusion of sweet and tart. Even the mention of pineapple makes me salivate. Yet pineapples are more nutrient packed and much lower in calories than the taste would indicate. One full cup only has a little over 80 calories.

Pineapples are rich, rich, rich in vitamin C. One cup supplies over 130% of the daily requirement for this essential nutrient. It boosts the immune system, helping to combat colds, flu, and infections. It defends the body against free radicals which attack, damage, and prematurely age normal cells.

Pineapples are the primary source of a nutrient called bromelain. Bromelain is a potent proteolytic enzyme, which means it helps to break down and digest proteins. As such it is a popular dietary supplement recommended by many healthcare practitioners to help with digestion. It is even used as a meat tenderizer. But bromelain has been shown in studies to have far more health benefits than just to ease digestion. It is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, fights tumor growth, and guards against excessive clotting of the blood.

many_uses_and_health_benefits_of_pineapple_picOne cup of pineapple also has almost 80% of the daily dose of the trace element manganese which is key in the formation of a number of enzymes that are necessary for energy production and antioxidant action. Additionally pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin B1, B6, folate, copper, and dietary fiber.

You should be aware that a pineapple stops ripening when it is picked. A firm feel, uniform yellow-brown color, and fragrant sweet smell should indicate you found a good one. Leaving a pineapple at room temperature won’t make it any sweeter, but it will help it become softer and even juicier. To slow this process and make it last longer they should be refrigerated. The recent report of “Pesticides in Produce” did not list pineapple as a concern, and of interest is the fact that pineapples are often included in allergy avoidance diets due to its ability to break up mucus, reduce inflammation, and break down the proteins that may cause many allergies.

So, if you can’t afford to visit the tropical islands, let them visit you with healthy, delicious, and available-all-year pineapple.

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