Pineapples. They’re so much more than a delicious, exotic fruit. Why? They’ve actually got a magical ingredient in them…Bromelain.
Best of all you can eat this sweet produce year-round and reap the amazing health benefits, even in winter.
So, let us tell you about Bromelain. (And all the other reasons pineapple is a healthy, yummy choice for the whole family!)
What exactly is Bromelain?
Magical bromelain probably wasn’t even on your radar (unless you’re a medical professional or really knowledgable about natural health and remedies) until right this minute. So, let’s start with the basics and why this is something everyone should be ingesting!
Most simply, bromelain is a mixture of enzymes. While it can be taken as a dietary supplement, you can actually find it in fresh pineapples. Of course when it comes to nutrition everyone knows fresh is best. That’s why all eyes are on pineapples!
What are the health benefits of Bromelain?
Here’s just some of the amazing things bromelain is scientifically proven to assist with:
- Preventing clotting: Bromelain works as a blood thinner. This also means it could potentially assist during pregnancy implantation (although, research on this still falls largely in the natural health categories and not purist science). That said if you’re trying to conceive what’s to lose!
- Aiding sore muscles: Bromelain can reduce muscle soreness if eaten after a workout.
- Reducing inflammation: Bromelain also functions as a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Fighting the spread of cancerous cells: There is research being undertaken to further understand the relationship between bromelain and cancer. Studies have shown that there is a positive link in the inhibited proliferation of certain carcinogens (cancer cells) which will hopefully be further proven with additional research.
Pineapple is Naturally Sweet & Good for You
If you’re questioning how something so sweet and delicious can be good for you we totally get it! “Aren’t sweet foods also sugar-containing foods? And, doesn’t that mean they’re unhealthy?” We’re all programmed to link sweet foods with sugars and the assumption that sugar is bad. The short answer is not always.
Unlike lollies, cookies, cupcakes and processed foods, pineapples have natural, not added, sugar. Whilst anything you eat requires moderation, adding pineapple to your diet isn’t anything like eating a cake every day. If you’re actually craving something sweet, pineapple is healthy choice because as well as meeting your demand for a taste explosion it’s rich in fibre, manganese, Vitamin C and antioxidants.
So, now you’re all in for eating pineapple. You know they’re a good choice, you know they taste amazing and you know they contain magical bromelain (and many other goodies!) but, why choose this fruit over all of the other ones?
Year-Round Pineapple Goodness: Even in Winter!
Unlike other fruits, pineapples are available through the winter. No, not the canned kind – the real-deal fresh variety! Don’t even think about opting for that sweetened syrupy fruit cocktail pineapple in a tin, it won’t bring the health benefits of the fresh produce. This is because when manufacturers sterilise the fruit, the heat processing destroys the nutrients. Canned pineapple does not contain bromelain and many versions also have added sugar.
It’s important to understand that pineapple is available year round because of the harvesting cycle of the produce – not because it’s stored for months on end. Dr. Jo McMillan notes that the perception of pineapple as only a ‘summer fruit’ is a challenge that gets in the way of people eating it during the winter months.
“I know there’s a big concern in Australia with fruits that are kept in cold storage, and are kept for months before we see them on our shelves,” says Dr. McMillan. “In Australia we have pineapples available year round,” adds Dr. McMillan. “Pineapples actually have several different harvests, a number of different varieties and the varieties are harvested at different times.” She contrasts this to fruits, such as mangoes, that only have single annual harvest.
Keep in mind, winter pineapples aren’t de-frosted frozen fruits and they don’t need long times to ripen. Dr. McMillan says (about Australian pineapple growers), “They pick the pineapples when they’re ripe but not like other fruits that are picked unripe.”
Storing & Enjoying Pineapples Year Round
Pineapples are ready to be eaten on the day they are picked! No need to sit them in your fruit bowl waiting for them to ripen (old wive’s tale!)
Dr. McMillan suggests chopping one up right away and putting it in the fridge to keep it fresh. If you’re not sure you can get through the whole fruit in time, stash the remainders in the freezer in a ziploc bag. Use the frozen pineapple to make smoothies or ice cream. You can also chop it up and add it to salsa or cook it from frozen in your favourite pork recipe. There’s thousands of ways to enjoy fresh and frozen pineapple – just be sure to treat this beautiful product with respect so it’s as delicious as it can possibly be!
However you choose to use pineapple, remember it’s a winter fruit too! That’s not to say you can’t eat it in the spring, summer or autumn. You can eat it year-round, getting the benefits of its super-star ingredients (bromelain and vitamin C) in every season!