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PINEAPPLE (Ananas comosus)

 

Pineapple juice

Pineapple has been part of traditional medicine in Central and South America for hundreds of years, where practitioners recommend it to improve digestion and lessen inflammation. Pineapple can also rehydrate the body and is useful to consume after bouts of diarrhoea, during fevers and when taking diuretic medication. It is a very nutritious addition to the diet with many compounds that can maintain optimum health when consumed regularly.

Fresh pineapple is rich in bromelain, a group of sulphur-containing proteolytic enzymes which digest protein breaking it down into amino acids, its basic building blocks, thus aiding digestion and can also reduce inflammation and swelling and is an anti-cancer agent. A variety of inflammatory agents are inhibited by the action of bromelain. To maximise bromelain's anti-inflammatory effects, pineapple should be eaten alone between meals or its enzymes will be used up digesting food.

Bromelain is also anti-parasitic meaning it is capable of killing various parasites and worms in the intestines when drunk on its own during a three day fast. It is also useful for oral health as it can remove stains and plaque build-up on the teeth and help to treat gum infections.

Pineapples contain protease which is an enzyme that is part of the pancreatic juice and breaks down proteins in the body to form amino acids allowing them to enter the bloodstream. This then makes them available to build all the proteins the body needs. Protease is also useful in the body by helping to fight bacterial infections and parasites. It is used in the treatment of arthritis, cancer and immune disorders. A deficiency in protease can cause many disorders such as constipation, digestive disorders, high blood pressure, hypoglycaemia and pancreas disorders.

Pineapples are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A which can help to protect the eyes from various disorders including macular degeneration. As beta-carotene is fat-soluble it must be consume with some oil in order to be absorbed. Consuming some yoghurt or avocado at the same time as pineapple can achieve this.

Pineapples are rich in iodine which can help to improve thyroid function and some autoimmune disorders.

Various other components of pineapple can remove toxins and heavy metals from the body making it an ideal addition to the diet of those suffering from:

Pineapple is an excellent source the trace mineral manganese that is necessary for a healthy functioning nervous system. It is also necessary for the production of feminine hormones, the normal structure of the bones and cartilage, brain function, the formation of thyroxin (thyroid gland hormone), the synthesis of structural proteins in the body and the metabolism of glucose and is a useful mineral for athletes.

The high concentration of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in pineapples helps to increase metabolism by converting carbohydrates into energy. This can help with weight loss as can pineapple's rich fibre content which takes longer to digest providing a 'full' feeling for longer.

Pineapple also has properties that act as anticoagulants that can reduce high blood pressure.

The potassium in pineapple can help to balance electrolytes which can reduce cramps and rehydrate the body and brain. This, and the other properties mentioned above, makes pineapple a good choice for those participating in sports and other strenuous activities that require strength and stamina and fast recovery.

See Sports Nutrition.

Pineapple is a good choice to consume after drinking alcohol as it rehydrates the body and hence reduces hangover symptoms. Coconut water is another good choice.

Two molecules found in pineapple stems have also shown anti-tumour activity.

NOTE: Tinned pineapples lose some of their powerful properties. Always buy fresh.

 

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