Pineapples: Nature's Healing Fruit
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc.
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
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 infections.
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 canning process.
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.
1 frozen banana
1 cup fresh pineapple
3/4 cup soymilk
honey or sugar (optional)
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, $19.95, available at most online
Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert
- All Rights Reserved.
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc., is a Health Advocate,
Trainer/Fitness Counselor, Recipe Developer, Freelance
Writer and Author.
Author Bio . . .
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 living.
have something to prove, as long as I know there's something that needs improvement,
and you know that every time I move, I make a woman's movement.
- Ani Difranco
Feminist Women's Health Center