There is, of course, growing debate over whether Columbus discovered America. Let’s face it, his reputation on this issue has taken a hit in recent years. The Vikings can lay claim, as can the Polynesians, the Innuits and even some Welsh princes, among others. Columbus does remain the undisputed champion of one discovery: the pineapple. He reportedly discovered the fruit in Guadeloupe in 1493. So, chalk one up for Chris.
Over the next 500 years, pineapple has done alright by itself. In fact, by the 18th and 19th Centuries, the pineapple became a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Europeans and North Americans loved the fruit’s look, taste and exotic nature so much that pineapple carvings are everywhere, from the whaling mansion of Nantucket to the grand houses of London and Paris. Okay, people don’t embrace a lot of pineapple symbols, but they should. This fruit isn’t only tasty, but it has benefits. Read on.
Besides having minerals and vitamins, raw pineapple pulp is 86 percent water and has only 83 calories. They are easy to add to any diet, and the good news is that besides helping to battle back eating surges, pineapples contain no cholesterol, sodium or fat.
Pineapples offer two separate digestion aids. First, they are the only known food source of bromelain, a combination of protein-digesting enzymes. Bromelain helps the body digest and absorb food. The fact that pineapple loaded with the stuff is why they also work as a meat tenderizer. The other related benefit is that the fiber in this fruit—2.3 grams per cup—helps gut health, offsetting constipation, gas build-up and diarrhea. Some studies maintain it can also treat E. coli infections.
The bromelain in the fruit’s rhizomes delivers anti-inflammatory properties that help subdue osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Oral consumption of bromelain can reduce pain and inflammation in patients with osteoarthritis.
Munching on pineapple helps fight cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin C and antioxidants in the fruit offset opacification, which leads to cloudiness and vision loss. Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, potassium, and manganese held in pineapple wards off cell damage that leads to macular degeneration.
Pineapples have the power to support a sound sodium-potassium balance, which is essential for regulating blood pressure. It can increase potassium intake, and decreasing sodium intake can lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The fruit can reduce stress, boost energy and improve a person’s mood. The several B vitamins in pineapples support brain function and reduce stress. The abundance of manganese helps create enzymes that support energy. The fruit’s amino acid tryptophan is essential for producing serotonin, otherwise known as the happy hormone.
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