Pineapples are known by their botanical name of Ananas comosus and are well-loved tropical fruits which are usually included in deserts or made into fruit juices. The fruit is actually a bunch of several berries which developed into a single edible fruit covered in “eye-like” patterns and a crown of spiky leaves. This herbaceous perennial is from the Bromeliaceae or the bromeliads, and the pineapple is the most famous kind. It can be consumed raw, cooked, in juice form, or preserves. The leaves from this plant are even made into the fabric pina while the fruit has many medicinal purposes.
Folklore and History of Pineapple
Upon close inspection, the pineapple appears as if it has hundreds of eyes. According to a Philippine legend, there was a girl who was turned into a pineapple when she kept on asking her sick mother where some of the things her mother was asking her for because she can’t find them by herself.
Pineapples grow in tropical countries and have been consumed as snack or used for medicinal purposes. Both the fruits and the roots can be eaten or applied on the skin to benefit from its anti-inflammatory effects. Traditionally, it is also used as an antiparasitic agent and a good digestive solution for constipation.
Chemical Properties of Pineapple
The main chemical constituent that pineapples have is bromelain which helps the body break down proteins more efficiently. This is why for culinary purposes, pineapples can be used as a marinade or meat tenderizer. Other health beneficial contents of pineapples include vitamin C, manganese, fibres, potassium, arginine, and caffeic acid.
Pineapples function as good natural diuretic, and they also have anti-inflammatory effects. They also promote better digestive functions because of its rich fibre content, and have natural anorectic properties as well.
Health Benefits from Pineapples
Consuming pineapple juice or eating the raw fruits can help counter constipation and regulate irritable bower syndrome. Pineapples also have the property to eliminate bacteria in the gut which causes intestinal putrefaction. It reduces the symptoms of diarrhoea and also helps in eliminating intestinal worms.
Because it has low calorie content and is rich in vitamin C and fibres, pineapples can also be beneficial for those who are trying to lose weight or the ones suffering from obesity. It breaks down proteins and fats more effectively, giving the body more essential nutritional value from the food it ingests. The anorectic properties of pineapples also help individuals have a diminished appetite which makes one consume less food.
Being a natural diuretic, it can also counter cases of water retention. Consuming pineapples can help avoid oedema formation and liquid retention. It can also lessen the development of arthritis, gout, uric acid, and worsening of cellulitis.
Bromelain from pineapples is a favourite natural supplement of athletes. Pineapple bromelain can be taken in extract form or absorbed by eating raw fruits. The only precaution with eating pineapples is to avoid taking it when one is on blood thinning medications. Overdose of bromelain extracts or too many pineapples may cause some stomach upset as well, so eat in moderation.