Pineapple is a tropical fruit with lots of health benefits. Most popular in South America, pineapple has been cultivated here for many centuries. The introduction of pineapple cultivation began in the 17th century and made it a significant luxury cultural icon. Since 1820, pineapples have been grown and cultivated in private farmhouses and greenhouses. Today, Brazil, Costa Rica, and the Philippines contribute nearly one-third of pineapples’ production. Pineapple is a budget-friendly fruit that packs a lot of essential vitamins and nutrients. It carries numerous health benefits that cannot be ignored. Therefore, follow us as we pen down everything you need to know about pineapples.
Things to consider when buying pineapples
Pineapples soften and change their color from green to golden over time. However, refrigeration slows down the process. When looking for the perfect pineapple, consider the top/crown, which should look vibrant and not wilted. If you observe that the leaves are loose, brown, or falling, it means that the fruit is old. You also would not want to go for a fruit that feels spongy or has soft spots. However, do smell the pineapple’s bottom spot; it is the sweetest spot located on the fruit and should give a smell fragrant.
How to store pineapples?
Pineapples do not last very long, and that is why fresh pineapple is quite perishable. Although it looks tough from its exterior, it can bruise easily. In addition to that, it will ferment as well if kept at room temperature for long. That is why companies transport fruits such as pineapples in chilled containers to keep them as fresh as possible. Therefore, if you are storing your pineapples at room temperature, consume them within two days.
Storing the pineapple at room temperature will increase its acidity but not its sweetness. If you were to wrap it in a perforated plastic bag, you could increase its lifespan to three to five days. After you have trimmed it and cut, make sure that you keep the pineapple covered in juice in an airtight container. Then, refrigerate it and use it within five to seven days. Allow the fruit to return to room temperature so that the flavor improves.
Additionally, freshly cut pineapples can be frozen into syrup or juice. However, it will lose some flavor. Peel, core, and then cut it into chunks. Wrap or place them in airtight containers along with their natural juice before freezing them for around 5-6 months. On the other hand, canned pineapples can be stored for about a year. However, with time it is bound to lose its freshness, therefore, consuming it within a week after the purchase is going to be a wise decision.
How to grow pineapples?
Growing pineapples is easy. First, purchase a fresh pineapple from a local store and cut off the leafy top part. You can twist the top off by giving it a hard tug. Then, remove the excess fruit flesh and slice the bottom crown part.
This will expose the roots which will resemble small dots. Now, remove the lowest leaves, but make sure that you do not remove too many as to expose the roots. After you have removed the leaves from the stalk, let it dry for around two to three days. This will allow any cuts or bruises to both dry and heal and will further prevent the fruit from rotting in case any excess fruit flesh is left on.
Once the stalk or top has dried, it is now time to plant. Plant the pineapple directly into the ground. Since pineapples’ roots do not require much room, you can plant them in flower pots as well. However, plant them in a bigger pot instead of a small one. Use organic matter with sandy soil mixed.
Health Benefits of Pineapples
Loaded with nutrients
Pineapples are low in calories, but it is quite healthy when it comes to the overall nutrient profile. It contains proteins, carbs, fiber, copper, folate, vitamin C, Niacin, potassium, iron, and much more. Furthermore, potassium contains traces of vitamins A and K, along with zinc, calcium, and phosphorus. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system and helps the absorption of iron from the diet. On the other hand, magnesium is a mineral that occurs naturally that helps with growth, healthy metabolism, and features antioxidant properties.
Pineapples rich in nutrients, but they are also loaded with antioxidants. These antioxidants help your body combat oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a situation where there are too many free radical cells in your body. These radical cells can lead to several diseases, such as cancer. Moreover, they can weaken the immune system and result in inflammation as well. Meanwhile, pineapples are rich in antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. And, since the antioxidants in pineapples are bound, they are meant to stay longer inside the body to produce long-lasting effects.
Pineapples contain digestive enzymes known as bromelain. These enzymes act as proteases that break down protein molecules into building blocks such as amino acids and small peptides. Once the molecules are broken down, they are more easily absorbed in the small intestine. This can be helpful, particularly for people who have pancreatic insufficiency, a condition where the pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes.
Might help reduce cancer
Cancer is a disease that takes place due to uncontrolled cell growth. People who have cancer will display signs of inflammation and oxidative stress. Several studies have demonstrated that pineapple may help reduce the risk of cancer as it minimizes oxidative stress and inflammation. Bromelain is one of the compounds that may help fight cancer. Two test-tube studies highlighted the fact that bromelain suppressed the growth of breast cancer. Therefore, it can be concluded that pineapple may help fight cancer through its compounds and enzymes.
Minimizes inflammation and boosts immunity
Back in the day, pineapples were used as traditional medicines. It is not that pineapples were discovered in the 90s. They contain several nutrients apart from bromelain that boosts immunity and suppresses inflammation. For instance, one nine-week study conducted on 98 healthy children had surprising results to display. The children were either not provided any pineapple, some pineapple, and lots of pineapples to consume.
It was found that children who ate pineapples had a lower risk of developing viral and bacterial infections. Moreover, the children who consumed the most pineapples had four times more white blood cells that fought with diseases than the other two groups. Additionally, another study found that children with sinus infection recovered comparatively better while taking a bromelain supplement as compared to others who underwent standard treatment.
May help with Arthritis
It is stated that Arthritis affects over 54 million people in the U.S alone. Although there are many kinds of Arthritis but the most common is inflammation of the joints. Since pineapples contain bromelain, it is commonly thought that they may provide relief against inflammation. A study conducted on patients discovered that the intake of a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain helps relieve the pain as effectively as popular medicines of Arthritis such as diclofenac. Furthermore, it was concluded that bromelain has the potential to relieve Arthritis symptoms, especially in the short term.
Pineapples are delicious and loaded with essential nutrients and minerals. Studies and researchers have managed to find a link between its nutrients and compounds and impressive health benefits such as improved digestion, lower risk cancer, arthritis relief, and improved immunity, etc. Moreover, pineapples are easy to grow and are versatile in terms of consumption. They can be consumed in a variety of ways. Therefore, to experience their health benefits, try incorporating them into your diet.