Pineapple is, next to bananas, the second most popular tropical fruit. It is native to South America particularly in Brazil and Paraguay. Pineapple is also known as Piña, Abacaxi and Ananas. It was Christopher Columbus who first introduced the fruit to Europe.
Pineapple - a perennial plant - grows about two to four feet tall. The reddish yellow fruit has a scale like surface surmounted by a crown of stiff, spiky leaves. Pineapple is the only cultivated fruit whose stem runs completely through it.
Columbus came across them in 1493 on the island of Guadeloupe. The natives who cultivated them called them ananas and believed that they had been brought from the Amazon many generations earlier by the fierce, warlike Caribs. Columbus called the strange fruit la piňa de las Indians (the pine of the Indies") because, as he later told Ferdinand and Isabella, they resembled "green pine cones, very sweet and delicious." The odd name stuck, and pineapples are still called piňas in most Spanish-speaking countries. In fact, the word pineapple originally meant "pine cone" in England.
The new fruit was enthusiastically received in Europe and was eventually carried to India, Africa, China, and the East Indies-warm places where the tender plants could reach maturity. It takes up to 15 frost-free months for the juicy fruit to form and ripen upon the 2-to 4-foot stem that rises from a rosette of stiff, spine-edged leaves. The "fruit" is actually a complex flower head that forms around the stem; the pineapple is the only cultivated fruit whose main stem runs completely through it. Each of the familiar "eyes" on the fruit's surface is the dried base of a small purple flower. The crown of leaves on top contains a bud, and when this bud matures, the fruit is ready to be cut. Pineapples bear no viable seeds; they are grown from the crowns.
The pineapples fruit has vitamins, minerals, fiber and enzymes that is good for the digestive system and helps in maintaining ideal weight and balanced nutrition. Pineapple are a good source of Vitamin C and can be eaten raw or used in cooking. Pineapple has minimal fat and sodium with no-cholesterol. Delicious, healthy and nutritious.
Medicinal Properties of the Pineapple fruit
· The pineapple is a delicious fruit with a lot of health benefits.
· A nutritious fruit, the pineapple features in diet plans for cancer patients. It has manganese, sulphur, chlorine, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, calcium, proteins and carbohydrates.
One of the benefits of pineapple is that it helps to build healthy bones. Pineapples are rich in manganese, a trace mineral that is needed for your body to build bone and connective tissues. Just one cup of pineapple provides 73% of the daily recommended amount of manganese. The benefits of pineapple can effect the growth of bones in young people and the strengthening of bones in older people.
· Pineapples are also a good source of vitamin B2, B1, A and C.
· Pineapples are rich in vitamin C, which is a water-soluble antioxidant that protects the aqueous areas of the body form damage caused by free radicals. These free radicals can form plaque deposits in the arteries, which can lead to heart problems and atherosclerosis. Free radicals can also cause colon cancer, joint pain and arthritis. But with a vitamin C rich diet, which includes eating fruits like pineapples, can prevent these diseases.
· Vitamin C in pineapples can boost the immune system and prevent flu and common cold.
While many people often take extra vitamin C or drink extra orange juice when they have a cold, few consider eating pineapple. The benefits of pineapple when you have a cold or cough are the same as the benefits of orange juice, but there is an additional benefit of pineapple. Bromelain, which is found in pineapples, has been found to help suppress coughs and loosen mucus.
· Pineapples are rich in mineral manganese, which is important for energy production. The manganese in pineapples helps to strengthen the bones and the connective tissues.
· Pineapples can prevent macular degeneration. Pineapples contain a lot of beta-carotene that is good for the eyes and for your vision. Studies show that eating three or more helpings of pineapple a day may lower your chance of getting age-related macular degeneration, the main cause of vision loss in older folks.
Bromelain - active ingredient
Bromelain is the general name for a family of sulflhydryl containing preoteolytic enzymes obtained from Ananas comosus. Bromelain also contains peroxidase, acid phosphatase, several protease inhibitors and organically -bound calcium. It appears a great deal of the physiological activity of bromelain cannot be accounted for by its proteolytic fraction and that the beneficial effect of bromelain are due to multiple constituents.
The most exciting recent discovery about bromelain is that it’s one of the most promising of all the anti-cancer nutrients. It activates the immune system and has anti-cancer effects and fights cancer at many levels. It has been proved to increases the macrophages ability to kill tumors.
It has the important ability to stimulate cell differentiation, which normalizes the cell. It helps both during the early promotional stage and the late stage of metastasis or spread.
One of the most intriguing factors about bromelain seems to be the ability to break down the protective coating that tumors use to hide from the immune system, allowing the immune system to target them more effectively. Bromelain also increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy.(1,2,3)
Anti-inflammatory and Sinusitis
Bromelain has been shown helpful for upper respiratory tract infections such as Sinusitis and Bronchitis. Bromelain helps to reducing nasal inflammation and break up the mucus in the nasal, sinus and respiratory areas.(4,5,6,7,8)
Bromalain has been called a fine anti-inflammatory and widely used after traumatic injuries and surgery. It is said to “release” inflammation by breaking down protein in swollen tissue and is thought to reduce swelling all kinds of inflammatory reactions.
Osteoarthritis and arthritis
Bromelain is used in case of osteoarthritis and arthritis to reduce pain associated with these conditions. It activates compounds that are responsible for breaking down fibrin. Fibrin forms a matrix around the inflamed area, thus blocking blood vessels and preventing adequate tissue drainage (causing swelling).(9,10)
The bromelain found in pineapple aids in digestion. Eating one slice of pineapples meal will reduce gas, bloating, nausea, constipation and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Bromelain can digest proteins and may help relieve stomach upset or heartburn, particularly when used in conjunction with other enzymes such as amylase (which digests starch) and lipase (which digests fat).(11,12,13)
Bromelain can prevent or minimize the severity of angina pectoris and transcient ischemic attacks and is useful in the prevention and treatment of thrombosis and thrombophlebitis. It appears that this is the results of it's ability to break down cholesterol plaques, exert a potent fibrinolytic activity and it's anti-inflammatory effect.(14,15,16,17,18,19)
These claims' axes are obviously given as an indication. Please note that the plant effect greatly depends on the amount implemented in the product. From a regulatory point of view, all claims affixed on the labeling of all dietary supplement must be justified by pertinent bibliographical data file according to Regulation 1924/2006/EC.
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