The pandemic COVID-19 has devastated the health and peace in the minds of all. Scientists, doctors, nutritionists, and health providers came out with a good deal of advice to keep us safe and well. Besides, the three big protective measures- wear a mask, clean your hands, and keep a safe distance, the key point is to keep your defense or immune system of your body strong.
Hence, taking the right food and drink is essential to enhance or boost your immunity. When the body is healthy and functions properly, it identifies and fights back threats of foreign bodies, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Immunity allows your body to resist toxins generated after infection from a highly contagious virus such as the coronavirus.
That is how you keep fit and healthy.
Luckily, nature has provided us with many vegetables, fruits, spices, and medicinal plants containing enzymes and nutraceuticals, which prevent infection of many contagions. Of the many fruits, the pineapple also a King of Fruits (Fran Beauman, 2005) is unique in fortifying the immune system of humans. Although there are historical implications of pineapple being the fruit of the upper class, my focus is on creating awareness of the reader on the nutritional and health values of pineapples.
The pineapple scientifically known as Ananas comosus is a tropical perennial plant and grows as a shrub. Pineapple is a fruit formed from the fusion of ovaries.
The Nutrients in Pineapple
Pineapple is a nutrient-dense fruit. In every cup (165g) of fresh pineapple, there is 21. 6 g carbohydrate, 2.3 g fiber, 1.7 g fat, and 1 g protein. The calorie content is 49 (or 82/cup) much lower than other fruits such as mango (60), banana (89), and avocado (160) per 100 g fresh fruit.
Pineapples do not any cholesterol. It is high in vitamin C (47.8 mg per 100 g) and close to lemon (53 mg/100g) which fulfills 131% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) necessary for an adult a day. As we all know vitamin C helps in strengthening the immune system and builds resistance to diseases. Hence, a cup of pineapple supplies 76% RDI Manganese. This mineral helps in metabolic activities by activating the enzymes. Besides other nutrients, vitamins, potassium, magnesium, copper, and amino acid make it a nutrient-rich fruit. It is, therefore, an excellent source of antioxidants (Diagram).
Bromelain in Pineapple-the Immunity enhancer
The term “Bromelain” originates from the Bromeliaceae family to which the pineapple is a member. It is a mixture of a protein-digesting enzyme or proteolytic enzyme. The active ingredients are proteinases and proteases, contained in stems, leaves, and fruits of pineapples.
In pineapple fruit, “it makes up 30–40% of the total fruit protein and is almost 90% of the proteolytically active material of the pineapple fruit.” The commercial form of bromelain is a preparation from the extracts of pineapple plants. The product aids in the food (for tenderizing meat), cosmetic cell renewal, anti-aging, whitening) and the pharmaceutical industry (digestive disorders).
A study with three varieties of pineapples in Indonesia to see the content of bromelain enzyme. The study showed 11 to 20 mg protein for 50 to 82 units of the enzyme per 100 g of pineapple flesh. Besides, the juicy taste, the sting in the tongue when you eat pineapples is because of the proteolytic enzyme.
Many Benefits of Pineapple-a superfood
There are many benefits of the pineapple fruit and its juice. The nutritive value, directly and indirectly, improves health and acts as a remedy to many illnesses.
- Pineapple boosts the immune system
- Reduces inflammation
- Increases blood circulation
- Boosts metabolism
- Eases digestive disorders
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Helps suppression of arthritis
- Improves oral and eye health
The juice of pineapple is refreshing. A glass of juice a day is enough to keep you healthy and happy.