Pineapple is a native of Paraguay from where it spread to the rest of South America, Central America and North America. It was then taken to Europe by Christopher Columbus in 1493. From Europe, sailors then took it to the rest of the world owing to its ability to prevent scurvy. However people soon realized it could not grow in temperate climate.
Pineapple is a tropical fruit, seen in our markets almost year round, cylindrical in shape with a rough surface, colour ranges from green to yellow and has a beautiful crown. The plant does not grow tall but has long leaves.
Though found in almost all tropical countries, the following countries produce pineapples in commercial quantities: USA (Hawaii), Brazil, China, Philippines, Thailand and Mexico.
Pineapple has plenty of water, being made up of about 80% water, thus it can be used to relieve thirst. The human body is made up of about 50-70% water, thus while you can live for about 8 weeks without food, you can only live a few days without water. It is needed for every action in the body.
Pineapples also contain Carbohydrates (sugar and fibre), Protein; the following vitamins: Vitamin C, Folates, Pyridoxine, B-Carotene and thiamin and the following minerals: Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Magnesium, and phosphorus. Pineapples do not contain fat and cholesterol and sodium.
Based on contained nutrients, pineapples if consumed regularly can:
1. Improve immunity
Pineapples contain a lot of Vitamin C which is required for the promotion of cell integrity in our body. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which fights against free radicals that damage our cells. It is therefore said to increase our resistance to diseases.
Pineapples also contain a lot bromelian which helps to clear our throat and respiratory tract of mucus. Therefore pineapple is said to be useful in common cold and cough.
2. Promote the health of the heart
High intake of soluble fibre reduces absorption of cholesterol and bile acid (which are also rich in cholesterol) from the small intestines, thereby reducing blood cholesterol level. When solublefibres are broken down by bacteria in the intestines, some fatty acids released are said to reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering blood cholesterol, fibres help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Pineapples also contain a lot of magnesium, a mineral. This mineral helps to regulate your blood pressure by various means. A lot of studies have shown the good relationship between blood pressure and magnesium intake. When magnesium is low in the body, the heart fails to work well.
Pineapples also contain potassium which helps to prevent irregular heart beat and to reduce risk of stroke.
3. Decelerate aging
Pineapples are high in important antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin A. These vitamins work to fend off cell damage from free radicals. Consequently, pineapples may help to decelerate aging and age related diseases such as atherosclerosis and arthritis.
4. Protect the gum
Pineapple has a lot of Vitamin C. This vitamin helps in the absorption of iron which is necessary for you to manufacture blood. It is also important in the formation of several other agents. When Vitamin C is low in the body, you could bleed from the gums and other parts of the body and feel a lot of pain also in the gum. Eating enough pineapples therefore helps to promote healthy gums.
5. Improve eye health
Pineapples contain a lot of antioxidants and B-carotene, both of them slow down the degeneration of certain parts of the eyes which could occur with age leading to a condition called Age-Related–Macula-
6. Fight against cancer
Pineapple is rich in fibres; many studies in the last three decades have shown a link between increased fibre in-take and a decrease in colon cancer. This could be due to the fibre itself or the nutrients that are usually in fibre-rich foods such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and essential fatty acid. There are many fibre supplements in the market but it is not advisable that they be relied on solely for fibres owing to the reason stated above.
Daily consumption of pineapples is highly recommended.
7. Strengthen our bones
Pineapples contain a lot of phosphorus and manganese; both minerals are found mainly in the bones and teeth of our body. We must consume enough of them daily to ensure strong bones, proper growth and good teeth development. We will also avoid stiff joint and bone pain.
8. Prevent constipation and Piles
Pineapples as said earlier are rich in fibre which adds bulk to stool, making bowel movement easier. Insoluble fibre does this better. When plenty of fibre is consumed, the stool is large and soft, this stimulates the muscles of the intestines to contract, pushing out the stool (faeces) without the individual straining himself.
With little fibre in the food, the stool is usually small and hard and therefore requires force to come out. Regular straining during the passage of faeces can lead to piles (haemorrhoids) and other conditions such as pouches (diverticulosis) in the large intestines. Piles can lead to anaemia due to bleeding.