5 Health Benefits of Pineapple
Pineapple season is upon us! While pineapple can be grown and enjoyed year-round, its peak season is spring through early to mid-summer, when it’s at its tangy-sweetest. That’s why a monthly fruit club like Pittman & Davis’ own Harvest-A-Month Fruit Club offers it in May, which is the best time to enjoy this amazing fruit. But what exactly is pineapple?
What is pineapple?
When European explorers came across pineapple in South America during the 17th Century, the fruits tough, spiky exterior made them think of pinecones. Inside, though, they found a bright yellow, sweet-tart flesh that was juicy and delicious, inspiring them to dub the fruit as “pineapple.”
Where are pineapples grown?
Where do pineapples come from? Originally, pineapple is indigenous to South America, where it has been cultivated for many centuries.
The growing conditions for pineapple are very specific, with a high percentage of sunny days with temperatures between 65 and 95 degrees. They grow best in sandy, loamy soil. If it’s too cool, the taste will be sour. If it’s too hot, they’ll taste extra sweet.
Today, pineapple is grown in tropical and subtropical countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, India, and China. Grocers and markets carry them all over the world.
Many Americans, when asked where do pineapples grow, might answer with Hawaii. But while pineapples have been a symbol of Hawaii, they are not actually indigenous to the state. Although the pineapple industry in Hawaii has waned considerably, the fruit still grows there year-round.
Fun Fact: Contrary to popular belief, pineapples do not grow on trees. So what do pineapples grow on, then? An aggregate fruit formed from a cluster of flowers, pineapples actually grow from the center of a bushy, leafy plant.
What are the health benefits of pineapple?
Besides being delicious, pineapple has been linked to many health benefits, including aiding digestion, boosting immunity and speeding up recovery from surgery, among others. Plus, a one-up serving has just 82 calories, making it a light snack. It’s also fat-free and high in fiber, which is especially important for those with diabetes.
Here are 5 health benefits of pineapple.
- Pineapple is loaded with nutrients. Pineapples are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese. Vitamin C is essential for growth and development, a healthy immune system and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet. Meanwhile, manganese is a naturally occurring mineral that aids growth, maintains a healthy metabolism and has antioxidant properties. Pineapple is also a great source of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
- Pineapple is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. Pineapples are a good source of antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Many of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound, so they may have longer lasting effects.
- The enzymes in pineapple help ease digestion. Pineapples contain bromelain, a group of digestive enzymes that breaks down proteins. This may aid digestion, especially in those with pancreatic insufficiency.
- Eating pineapple regularly may help reduce your risk of getting cancer. Pineapple contains compounds that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are linked to cancer. One of these compounds is the enzyme bromelain, which may stimulate cell death in certain cancer cells and aid white blood cell function.
- Eating pineapple may boost the immune system and suppress inflammation. Pineapples have anti-inflammatory properties that may boost the immune system ease arthritis symptoms and speed recovery after surgery or strenuous exercise.
What’s the best way to enjoy pineapple?
There are so many ways to enjoy this healthy, tasty fruit! Enjoy pineapple by itself or add it to a smoothie, fruit salad, or salsa. Whether as a refreshing snack or with any meal from breakfast to dinner to dessert, pineapples works in recipes both sweet and savory. Many people even enjoy eating on pizza! However you choose to partake of the pineapple, you can feel satisfied knowing you’re doing something good for your health.