By Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc.
For a natural and tasty way to improve your health and boost your healing capacity, add fresh pineapple and pineapple juice to your diet. Pineapples are nutritionally packed members of the bromeliad family. This delightful tropical fruit is high in the enzyme bromelain and the antioxidant vitamin C, both of which plays a major role in the body's healing process.
Bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory with analgesic properties, encourages healing, promotes well-being and has many other health benefits. Bromelain is very effective in treating bruises, sprains and strains by reducing swelling, tenderness and pain. This powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect can also help relieve osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and reduce postoperative swelling. Additionally, bromelain can relieve indigestion. The enzyme contained in fresh pineapple helps break down the amino acid bonds in proteins, which promotes good digestion.
Pineapples also provide an ample supply of vitamin C, a commonly known antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage and boosts the immune system. Vitamin C helps build and repair bodily tissue and promotes wound healing. The body uses vitamin C to help metabolize fats and cholesterol, absorb iron, and synthesize amino acids and collagen. Collagen is one of the primary building blocks of skin, cartilage and bones. Vitamin C also decreases the severity of colds and infections.
Furthermore, due to its high vitamin C content, pineapples are good for your oral health as well. Recent studies have found that vitamin C can reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Besides increasing the ability of connective tissue to repair itself, vitamin C also increases the body's ability to fight invading bacteria and other toxins that contribute to gum disease. Periodontal disease, which destroys gum tissue and underlying jaw bones, has been linked to heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
So if you are searching for a natural way to enhance your body's healing mechanisms, promote overall good health and tantalize your taste buds, pineapples are the way to go. Choose the fresh fruit because it has the most healing properties. Unfortunately, most of the bromelain in canned pineapple is destroyed due to the heat used in the canning process.
When choosing a fresh pineapple, do not judge ripeness solely based upon color. There are several varieties on the market that range from green to golden yellow. The most important factor in determining ripeness is smell, let your nose help you decide. Ripe pineapples give off a sweet, fresh tropical smell. Avoid pineapples that give off an unpleasant odor or have any soft spots or areas of dark discoloration. Once home, let the pineapple sit on your counter at room temperature until ready to use. This will preserve its sweet and tangy flavor.
To prepare pineapple, you need to peel it, remove the eyes (the thorny protrusions within the puffy squares of the skin) and the fibrous center. One way to do this is to remove the top of the pineapple with a sharp knife. Then cut the pineapple lengthwise into 4 wedges (quarter it) and place each pineapple wedge horizontally on a cutting board. Carefully cut the fruit from the outer skin, and cut out the eyes and fibrous center core.
Another way is to cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple, place the pineapple vertically (upright) on a cutting board and carefully slice off the outer skin. With a sharp paring knife or the end if a vegetable peeler, remove the eyes. Don't cut too deep, just enough to lift out the section that contains the eye. Then, slice the pineapple crosswise and remove the fibrous core individually with a cookie cutter.
Once the fruit is prepared, it can be diced and eaten fresh, added to salads and entrees for an exotic flavor, or made into tasty tropical drinks and smoothies.
To get you started, try Monique N. Gilbert's delicious, nutritious, cholesterol-free smoothie recipe. It's high in bromelain, vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), iron, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and soy isoflavones.
Pina-Banana Orange Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup soymilk
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
Place all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
Makes about 2-3/4 cups (2 servings)
Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert - All Rights Reserved
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. is a Health, Nutrition, Weight-Loss & Lifestyle Coach; Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor; Recipe Developer; Freelance Writer and Author of Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook. She has offered guidance in natural health, nutrition, fitness, weight-loss and stress management since 1989. You can reach Monique at http://www.MoniqueNGilbert.com
About the author:
Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. has received international recognition for helping people get healthy, manage stress, lose weight and keep it off. Through her coaching program and writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity and healthy living. For more information, visit her website at - http://www.MoniqueNGilbert.com/
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