Hawaii… is what comes to mind when some people thinks of pineapple. This beloved fruit actually originated in South America centuries ago and the indigenous peoples had spread it all through Central America, even before the European explorers arrived. In 1493, Christopher Columbus discovered the fruit in Guadeloupe and brought it back to Spain as one of their unusual prizes from the New World. He called the fruit piña as it resembles a pine cone. In the 17th century, American colonists started trading in pineapple from the Caribbean which soon became a symbol of hospitality because of its rareness and exotic qualities. This tropical fruit eventually turned into an American household staple.
Pineapples’ scientific name is Ananas comosus and belongs to the Bromeliaceae family. It is a tropical fruit that grows up 5 to 8 feet high with a short, stout stems and long needle-tipped leaves spreading around 3-4 feet. This plant is perennial and drought –resistant. The fruit has a very unusual structure that basically developed from numerous small fruits fused together around the central core. It has a fleshy and juicy pulp with a rich flavor and taste of mixed sweetness and tartness. The outer skin is made up of rough, scaly rind which turns from yellow color to orange-yellow when ripe. The fruit measures to about 12 inches long.
Pineapple is a superfood that is low in calories, has no saturated fat or cholesterol but is bursting with unique health enhancing minerals, vitamins and compounds that are essential for optimum wellbeing. Eating fresh pineapple regularly is a good way in preventing indigestion, worm infestation and arthritis.
This fruit is a powerhouse of anti-oxidant vitamins like, vitamin C that protects the body from infectious diseases and free radicals; Vitamin A that maintains a healthy skin and good eyesight; vitamin B complex such as thiamin, folates and riboflavin that are powerful against heart diseases, anemia, high blood pressure, high level of cholesterol and more. Pineapple is also rich in fiber, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
One remarkable element inherent to pineapple is an enzyme called Bromelain. This proteolytic enzyme helps in digesting the food we eat by breaking down protein and neutralizes fluids to regulate its acidity thereby keeping our digestive track in good shape. It is anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting. If you have a choice, eat fresh pineapple rather than in can. Canned pineapple is loaded with sweetener and preservatives.
Pineapple skins and core can be used in making a variety of products like alcohol and animal food. The Juice of Pineapple can also be used in tenderizing meat.
For most people, pineapple is relatively safe to eat, but in moderate proportion. Its Bromelain content can cause diarrhea and stomach discomfort. So, easy on your slices.
Grilled pineapple tastes great. Have you tried one before?
Photo by: http://www.tampabay.com/resources/images/dti/rendered/2014/03/biz_pineapples032314b_12810066_8col.jpg