Monday, September 7, 2009

PINEAPPLE: "The Stomach's Friend"

pineapple Pictures, Images and Photos

History tells that in 1493 the inhabitants of the Antillean island of Guadeloupe offered Christopher Columbus a pineapple, which he took to be a variety of artichoke. He brought it back to Spain, from where it spread to the tropical areas of Asia and Africa. It was first cultivated in Hawaii in the 19th century, which is now one of the primary world producers.

PROPERTIES AND INDICATIONS: Unlike the banana, the pineapple only ripens on the plant. Its content of sugars and active ingredients doubles during its final weeks of ripening. This is why prematurely harvested fruit is acid-tasting and lacks nutritional components. It is best to eat pineapple that has been properly ripened on the plant.

Pineapple that has been properly matured contains approximately 11% carbohydrates, most of which are sugars. Their fat and protein contents are negligible.

The prevalent vitamins in pineapple are C, B1, and B6. It is also a good source of folates. Among the minerals it contains are manganese (1.65 mg/100 g), followed by copper, potassium, magnesium, and iron.


Fiber : 1.20%

Minerals : 0.290%

Carbohydrate : 11.2%

Fat : 0.430%

Protein : 0.390%

water : 86.5%

Scientific synonym: Ananas sativus Schult.

Synonyms: Cayenne pineapple, Nana, Ananas; French: Ananas; Spanish: Ananas, pina [tropical], pina americana; German: Ananas.

Description: Compound fruit (formed by the union of the fruits of various blossoms around a central fleshy core) of the pineapple plant ('Ananas comosus' Merr.), a herbaceous plant of the botanical family Bromeliaceae that reaches a height of 50 cm.

Habitat: Pineapples are cultivated in tropical regions in America, Asia, and Oceania, Hawaii, Thailand, and Brazil are the main producing regions.

PINEAPPLE Composition

per 100 g of raw edible portion

% Daily Value (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) provided by 100 g of this food

Energy : 49.0 kcal = 207 kj : 2%

Protein : 0.390 g : 1%

Carbohydrates : 11.2 g : 4%

Fiber : 1.20 g : 5%

Vitamin A : 2.00 ug RE

Vitamin B1 : 0.092 mg : 6%

Vitamin B2 : 0.036 mg : 2%

Niacin : 0.503 mg NE : 3%

Vitamin B6 : 0.087 mg : 4%

Folate : 10.6 ug : 5%

Vitamin B12 : -

Vitamin C : 15.4 mg : 25%

Vitamin E : 0.100 mg TE : 1%

Calcium : 7.00 mg : 1%

Phosphorus : 7.00 mg : 1%

Magnesium : 14.0 mg : 4%

Iron : 0.370 mg : 4%

Potassium : 113 mg : 6%

Zinc : 0.080 mg : 1%

Total Fat : 0.430 g : 1%

Saturated Fat : 0.032 g

Cholesterol : -

Sodium : 1.00 mg

Preparation and Use

1. Natural: Pineapple is an ideal dessert, improving digestion. It also is an excellent aperitif, preparing the stomach for a meal.

2. Juice: Pineapple juice must be drunk slowly because of its acidity.

3. Canned: Canned pineapple retains most of its vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, it is poor in the enzyme bromelin, which is easily degraded. As a result, canned pineapple has little effect as a digestive aid.

The pineapple's non-nutritive components are of utmost importance from a dietary and therapeutic standpoint:

Citric and malic acids: These are responsible for the pineapple's acidic taste. As is the case with citrus fruits, they potentiate the action of vitamin C. In spite of its richness in acids, the pineapple acts as an alkalizer from a metabolic standpoint, in other words as an antacid, as occurs with the lemon and other citrus fruits.

BROMELIN (also known as bromelain): This is a protein-digesting enzyme capable of "breaking down" proteins and releasing the amino acids that form them. Because of this, pineapple bromelin has long been used in the food industry as a meat tenderizer.

Bromelin acts in the digestive tract by breaking down proteins and facilitating digestion in much the same way as the stomach's own pepsin.

The pineapple is a succulent, delicious fruit rich in certain vitamins and minerals. Many consider it a wonderful dessert as an aid to the digestion of other foods. Others prefer to eat it as an aperitif, eating it before a meal, particularly when the stomach is somehow weakened. Its consumption is specifically indicated for the following conditions:

  • Hypochlorhydria (scanty gastric juice), which is manifested by slow digestion and a sense of heaviness in the stomach.

  • Gastric ptosis (prolapsed stomach) caused by the stomach's inability to empty itself (gastric atonia).

In both cases pineapple must be eaten fresh (not canned) and ripe either before or after a meal.

  • Obesity: Pineapple or fresh pineapple juice consumed before meals reduces appetite and constitutes a good complement to weight-loss diets. It is also slightly diuretic (facilitates urine production).

  • Sterility: This tropical fruit is one of the richest foods in manganese, a trace element actively involved in the formation of reproductive cells, both male and female. It is therefore recommended for those suffering from sterility due to insufficient production of germinal cells (sperm in men and ova in women).

  • Stomach cancer: It has been shown that pineapple is a powerful inhibitor of the formation of nitrosamines. These carcinogenic substances form in the stomach as a chemical reaction between nitrites and certain proteins contained in foods. Nitrosamines are known to be one of the leading causes of stomach cancer.

Vitamin C alone impedes the formation of nitrosamines, but pineapple (whole or fresh juice) has been shown much more effective. Consequently, pineapple is recommended as a preventive for those at high risk for stomach cancer. Those who have suffered from this desease can also benefit from this delicious fruit in preventing recurrence.

Gastroduodenal Ulcer

Pineapple is not recommended during the active phase of a gastroduodenal ulcer since there is usually excess gastric juice present.

Pineapple: Choose Well and Gain Greater Benefit

Pineapple only ripens properly on the plant. If it is harvested early to meet the needs of transport, it is very acid and poor in nutrients.

It is important to know how to choose fruit that is ripe. Pineapple is ripe when:

1. The pulp yields to finger pressure

2. Its aroma is intense

3. Its leaves are easily removed.

To prepare a pineapple, it must be peeled and cut into 2 cm slices.

Pineapple juice is prepared by placing chunks of pineapple in a blender. The resulting juice should be drunk immediately to prevent the loss of its properties. It must be drunk slowly and well salivated.

Fighting Cancer with Pineapple

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer has now surpassed cardiac disease as the largest killer in the United States. The incidence of cancer increases with age, with approximately 80 percent of cancers occurring in people over the age of 55.

However, according to researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Researcher, preventing cancer may be as simple as eating pineapple.

Pineapple Fights Cancer Growth

While analyzing bromelin, an extract of crushed pineapple stems, researchers found that two molecules isolated from the extract showed promise in fighting cancer growth:

  • One molecule, known as CCS, blocks a protein called Ras, which is defective in approximately 30 percent of all cancers.

  • The other, called CCZ, stimulates the body's own immune system to target and destroy cancer cells.

Researchers discovered these two molecules work simultaneously to block the growth of a broad range of tumor cells including breast, lung, colon, ovarian and melanoma.

And while CCS and CCZ are protease enzyme (usually associated with breaking down proteins, as in the digestive process), the above findings distinguish the molecules as a new way of treating disease and potentially a whole new class of anti-cancer agents.

What's more, bromelin, a rich source of enzymes, has also been found to modulate immunological responses and has been proposed to be of clinical use. (BBC News)