Pineapples: Nature's Healing Fruit
By Monique N.
GilbertWant to give your body a boost in health and healing? Then
you may want to add some 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 is a natural anti-inflammatory that has many health benefits
and encourages healing. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, bromelain is very
effective in treating bruises, sprains and strains by reducing swelling,
tenderness and pain. This powerful anti-inflammatory effect can also help
relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and reduce postoperative swelling.
Additionally, the bromelain contained in fresh pineapple can relieve
indigestion. This enzyme helps break down the amino acid bonds in proteins,
which promotes good digestion.
Pineapples provide an ample supply of
vitamin C too, 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
Furthermore, due to its high vitamin C content, pineapples
are good for your oral health as well. A study conducted at the State
University of New York at Buffalo 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
want 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
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. First, cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple with
a sharp knife. Place the pineapple 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, remove the fibrous core. One way to do
this is to cut the pineapple lengthwise into 4 wedges (quarter it) and cut
around the fibrous center core. Another popular way is to slice the pineapple
crosswise and remove the cores 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.
Here is a
delicious, nutritious, cholesterol-free smoothie recipe high in bromelain,
vitamin C, potassium, thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), iron,
fiber and isoflavones.
Tropical Fruit Smoothie
1 cup fresh pineapple
3/4 cup soymilk
honey or sugar (optional)
Blend all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender for
1-2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Makes about 2-3/4 cups (2 servings)
This recipe is from the book "Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide
and Cookbook" by Monique N. Gilbert (Universal Publishers, 2001, p. 169).
Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert - All
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc., is a Health Advocate,
Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor, Recipe Developer, Freelance
Writer and Author of "Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook"
(Universal Publishers, 2001). For more information, visit the Virtues of Soy
website at http://www.virtuesofsoy.com or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monique N. Gilbert has a
Bachelor of Science degree, is a Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor
and Health Advocate. She began a low-fat, whole grain, vegetable-rich diet in
the mid-1970's. This introduced her to a healthier way of eating and became the
foundation of her dietary choices as an adult. She became a full-fledged
vegetarian on Earth Day 1990. Over the years she has increased her knowledge
and understanding about health and fitness, and the important role diet plays
in a person's strength, vitality and longevity. Monique feels it is her mission
to educate and enlighten everyone about the benefits of healthy eating and