- Jan 12, 2018 -
One of the most prized and popular fruits, pineapple or "ananas" has an interesting history to narrate. Originally indigenous to local Paraguayans in South America, it spread from its native land by the local Indians up through the South and Central Americas and to the West Indies. Later, it was brought to Spain when Columbus discovered Americas’ in 1493. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it spread to rest of the world by the European sailors (just like tomatoes) who carried it along with them to protect themselves from scurvy, a disease caused by the deficiency of vitamin-C.
Fresh pineapple is low in calories. Nonetheless, it is a storehouse for several unique health promoting compounds, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
100 g fruit provides just about 50 calories; equivalent to that of apples. Its flesh contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, it is a rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber like pectin.
Pineapple fruit contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain that digests food by breaking down protein. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that consumption of pineapple regularly helps fight against arthritis, indigestion and worm infestation.
Fresh pineapple is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin; vitamin-C. 100 g fruit contains 47.8 or 80% of this vitamin. Vitamin-C required for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body protect from scurvy; develop resistance to combat infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
It also contains small amount Vitamin-A (provides 58 IU per 100 g) and β -carotene levels. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin-A is also required maintaining healthy mucosa, skin, and is essential for vision. Studies suggest that consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps the human body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Further, ananas fruit is rich in the B-complex group of vitamins like folates, thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like copper, manganese, and potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is an essential cofactor for red blood cell synthesis. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger.