Properties and Benefits of Pineapple: The pineapple (Ananas comosus), the second most popular tropical fruit in the West, is adored for its sweet, juicy yellow pulp as well as for its refreshing taste. Pineapples are in season from March to June, however, modern agricultural techniques have made the fruit available throughout the year.
Pineapples boast significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity due to the presence of vitamin C, manganese and of a special protein-dissolving enzyme called bromelain. Some studies suggest that eating pineapple may reduce inflammation at the level of the colon and joints, improving conditions such as colitis and arthritis. However, bromelain, the pineapple enzyme, may worsen gastritis symptoms.
Should you or shouldn’t you eat pineapple if you have stomach problems? There is no definitive answer to this question. While some people find pineapple soothing for the stomach, others may experience severe heartburn, stomach cramps and irritated stomachs. Both the benefits and the troubles stream from bromelain, an enzyme found only in pineapple. Bromelain is what may upset gastritis sufferers and even cause the condition to evolve into ulcer. The aggravation of the condition is also be related to the fruit having an acid pH. At the same time, it is a potent anticoagulant, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Eating pineapple can thus reduce inflammation at the intestinal level, especially colon inflammation, and offer antioxidant protection against reactive oxygen molecules called free radicals. In simple words, free radicals damage cells and, in some cases, cause them to mutate and reproduce at a faster pace than normal. This leads to tumors or cancer. Pineapple contains bromelain, vitamin C and manganese, three powerful natural antioxidants which protect against cancer-causing cell mutations, especially at colon level.
Bromelain has also exhibited anti-inflammatory activity on the colon and, according to some studies, it can improve conditions such as colitis. Also, the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain are said to be effective against arthritis joint pain as well. However, eating pineapple alone may not lead to such significant improvements of serious medical conditions.
Taking bromelain dietary supplements or extract is said to be much more efficient than consuming the fruit. Why? Probably because bromelain is found largely in the pineapple stem, a portion often discarded. The pulp contains small amounts, enough to upset a stomach, but insufficient to improve arthritis or colitis. Pure bromelain extract has also shown results in the treatment of breast cancer.
Nevertheless, eating pineapple has its benefits. For instance, it is rich in vitamin C. About 100 g of fresh pineapple pulp provides us with 80% of the RDI of vitamin C, a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial. Vitamin C-rich foods such as pineapple stimulate collagen production and are thus efficient in preventing wrinkles and saggy skin as a result of old age. In addition to reducing inflammation, vitamin C also reduces the frequency, duration and overall severity of colds and bacterial infections by supporting immunity.
As an antioxidant, it protects against free radicals, reactive oxygen molecules which, among other things, promote plaque forming on artery walls and consequent atherosclerosis, a major cause of death among adult males especially. Also, free radicals are known to cause asthma attacks, colon and other cancers, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Despite claims of insufficient research, one thing is clear: people enjoying a diet rich in vitamin C are healthier and less likely to suffer from chronic disease (diabetes, cancer, arthritis and so on).
Pineapples are a good source of B vitamins as well and, as mentioned above, an excellent source of manganese (40% of the RDI), a mineral which adds to the antioxidant effects of the fruit.
Overall, the pineapple is an above-average healthy fruit. Its fresh, tropical aroma and sweet, juicy pulp make it extremely enjoyable fresh or canned, in salads or as a side dish to meat. And the fact that it grows close to the ground (pineapples do not grow on trees) makes it even more curious.
Nevertheless, producers use exaggerated amounts of fertilizer and carcinogenic pesticides to produce good commercial crops and force the fruit to ripe using an organic plant hormone (ethylene). They poison the soil to such an extent that local water supplies are in danger of being contaminated. As much as I enjoy pineapple, I do not eat it on a regular basis for fear of ingesting too much pesticides and fertilizers.