Monday, October 4, 2010

The Potent Pineapple

I remember as a kid, riding through vast tracks of pineapple fields. The Leeward side of our island (Oahu) was covered with the crowned fruit called the pineapple. Miles upon miles of pineapple filled the slopes of Mililani. We were the king of pineapple production throughout the world. We also produced the most sugar cane. Today, the Dole Pineapple cannery in downtown Honolulu is just a museum of its former agricultural prowess; shops now fill building space once occupied by its offices; a theater is the only draw to this once bustling business.

Can you sense a note of sadness in my voice? Yes, I am sad about the passing of time, but I am glad we still grow a little pineapple for our stores and farmer's markets on the island. We can still fortify our bodies with this potent fruit from South America. Why is it so potent?

The one enzyme responsible for giving pineapple its healthy claim to fame is this: bromaine. It's an amazing enzyme and health booster. Eating three servings of pineapple a week can be a healthy step toward preventing asthma, arthritis, cancer, and other inflammatory types of diseases. It helps the body to heal bruises, sprains, and strains by reducing swelling, tenderness, and pain.

Bromelain also helps in digestion by breaking down proteins more efficiently and helping the body get the needed nutrition to its cells.

The pineapple is also high in vitamin C, a commonly known powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals in our system.  Vitamin C, as you know, helps build and repair body tissue and promotes bodily healing. Vitamin C also metabolizes fat and cholesterol, absorbs iron, and synthesizes amino acids and collagen. You want to have nicer skin, eat more pineapple and other citrus.

It also tastes great. Making a fruit smoothie of pineapple, papaya, and banana at least three times a week will boost your immune system through the roof. I know I'm using superlative language, but these three fruits swimming around in your body will enhance your health, mood, looks, and even breath, yes, even your breath.

It's been found to reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

The benefits abound. Look for pineapple that have a sweet tropical smell, not sour or discolored. I prefer the smaller, golden yellow ones, the first harvest. They are sweeter and more intense in flavor. Canned pineapple has very little bromaine because of the extra processing, so buy it fresh from the market. 

Lastly, do you know why people get sick all the time? It's because they fill their bodies with processed foods and keep it alive through harsh medications that offer no long lasting cures. Forgive me for this side note, but as I study the benefits of natural foods like fruit, vegetables, and herbs, I am realizing that the best medicine is preventive medicine. A daily dose of pineapple along with other healthy portions of vegetables and fruits will accomplish this. Eat well and prosper!  

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