Now I knew pineapple was good for you, being a fruit and all – but I had no idea HOW good. Most of its health benefits come from an enzyme called bromelain and its high vitamin C content.
Bromelain helps to break down the amino acids in proteins, making it a great aid to digestion – and it is said to be helpful in preventing nausea caused by morning sickness or motion sickness.
But what I find most interesting about bromelain are the claims that it is a natural anti-inflammatory, helpful in reducing swelling of the thyroid gland (goiter) and relieving symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Additionally, bromelain is effective in treating bruises and sprains by reducing swelling, tenderness and pain – and preventing blood clot formation. The article I read wasn’t clear, but I still think you actually EAT IT and don’t apply it topically. But it would make a much more pleasant poultice than something made of garlic, no?
(Note: The bromelain content of pineapple is destroyed by the canning process – so eat your pineapple fresh for the most benefit. And taste, really.)
So all of those things by themselves make me want to run out and eat a pineapple, but we haven’t even touched on the vitamin C.
It’s pretty widely know that vitamin C is an antioxidant and, as such, it protects the body from free radical damage and boosts the immune system. Vitamin C helps build and repair bodily tissue and promotes wound healing. Nice double whammy for wound healing, along with the bromelain, right?
And here’s something I did not know about vitamin C: 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.)
And I think we all know that vitamin C is helpful in fighting off colds and infections – or at least in decreasing their severity. No word yet on its effect on the Swine Flu.
Now I know all of this is making you want to run right out and buy a pineapple or two. It just so happens that pineapples are at their peak right now (March through July) so it’s not such a bad idea.
And you can go to all the trouble of learning how to cut a pineapple (cut off both ends, cut out the core, scrape off the thorny stuff) or, seriously, you can just go the Mrs. Jelly Belly QVC-addicted route and buy yourself a stainless steel pineapple slicer. Or the plastic one, even.
Now that you bought all that fresh pineapple - and it's all cut up and ready to eat - how about a smoothie? Or a lovely Pina Colada (which doesn’t contain fresh pineapple but, really, why not?).
Tropical Fruit Smoothie
3 oz. rum
2 oz. coconut cream
2 cups crushed ice