Pineapple is a fruit packed with lots of health benefits. The captivating aroma and the mouth watering taste of pineapple make it a popular fruit. The fruit is a native of South America. It reached other parts of the world through the local Indians to the South and the Central Americas and later to the West Indies. It was in the year 1493 that Columbus discovered the Americas and it was at that time pineapple reached Spain. Pineapple reached the rest of the world through the European sailors who sailed with it in order to protect themselves from the disease called Scurvy which was caused by deficiency of Vitamin C.
Pineapple is a tropical plant which grows up to 6 to 8 feet in height. Its spiky and thick leaves spread around 4 feet radius. The short plant has a waxy stem and the leaves have thorns on them. A pineapple plant bears many fruits during the months of March to June.
The fruit is a development of small fruitlets that are fused to the core portion. The flesh is very juicy and is yellow in color. It is a rich source of fiber. Its skin is very rough and scaly. The flesh has a sweet tart rich flavor. An average pineapple can grow up to 10 to 12 inches in length. It weighs around 6 to 8 pounds.
Health Benefits of Pineapple
- Pineapples are low in calories. It is a rich store of many health promoting compounds, vitamins and minerals that are very essential for the maintenance of our health.
- The pineapple flesh does not contain any fats or cholesterol.
- Pineapple has preteolytic enzyme named bromelain that helps to digest the food that we intake by the procedure of breaking down the protein. Bromelain has the qualities such as anti clotting, anti cancer and anti inflammatory properties. With regular consumption of pineapple, we are able to prevent and cure arthritis, infestation of worms and problems due to indigestion.
- The antioxidant vitamin, Vitamin C is found in large numbers in fresh pineapples. Vitamin C is very essential for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is a structural protein in the body that helps to maintain the quality of the blood vessels, bones, organs and the skin. With regular consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C, we can protect ourselves from scurvy. We can also improve our immunity system and keep us away from pro inflammatory free radicals from the body.
- Vitamin A that has the properties of antioxidant is also present in pineapple. For the purpose of maintaining a perfect mucosa, healthy skin and good vision, the presence of Vitamin A is mandatory. The flavanoids present in natural fruits are essential for the body from cancers like oral cavity cancer and lung cancer.
- The B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, folates, thiamin and pyridoxine and minerals such as potassium, manganese and copper are found in abundance in the fruit.
Storage and Selection of the Fruit
The season of pineapple starts from March to June. We get heavy pineapples all fresh in stores. The only difference between the small sized ones and larger ones is that there are most edible part in larger ones. But the taste remains the same in both. Choose fruits that do not have dark eyes, bruises or mold. These indicate that the fruit is not fresh. A fresh one will always have dull skin and solid body. The fruit will stop ripening as soon as it is cut from the plant.
The ripe ones should be consumed immediately after purchase. It cannot be stored for too long in refrigerators. Remove the skin and cut the flesh into cubes and place in a zip lock pouch, if you want to store in refrigerator for one or two days.
Serving or Preparation method
The fruit has to be cut and peeled. Chop off the base and crown portion with the help of a sharp knife. Peel the skin carefully without any eyes on it. Cut the flesh into cubes or round slices and serve.
Pineapple is a fruit which is good for your health. Add pineapples to foods like fruit salads, desserts, jellies and jams. It can be used to make yummy juice. Avoid eating pineapples during pregnancy as it can cause bleeding in the uterus. Eat safe and stay safe!!