Benefits of Pineapple Consumption
The beauty of a spiky fruit
There was a time that pine apple was more expensive than apple and guess where that was –in Europe in the 15 th century. At that time, only the elites could afford pine apple using it to decorate dining tables to the extent that pine apple was rented to give a sign of affluence and was later returned for the actual affluent to eat. At that time pineapple was only found in South America. The visit of Columbus brought an encounter with the fruit and marked its introduction to Europe; all that is now history. Different varieties of pine apple are now available throughout the world. Native to Brazil, pineapple is a composite of many flowers whose individual fruit-lets fuse together around a central cone. Each fruit-let can be called an ‘eye’ and the eyes are the rough markings on the surface of the pineapple. Many varieties of pineapple exist being distinguished by the presence or lack of spines on the leaves, hardness of the flesh and juiciness. Generally, the area close to the base of the fruit has more sugar content and therefore a sweeter taste and is tenderer.
Pineapple enriches the health of its eaters in many ways as it contains the following:
Bromelain: Pineppale contains bromelain, a group of sulphur containing, protein digesting enzymes which aid digestion and effectively reduce inflammation and swelling. This has also been used as an anti-cancer agent in experiments. It is good in conditions such as sinusitis, sore throat, arthritis and gout and can aid in recovery from injuries and surgery. To maximize these effects, pine apple should be eaten alone between meals so that its enzymes are not used up in digesting food. The added effect of its fiber content makes it a good fruit to put money on and eat regularly.
Vitamin C: Pine apple contains vitamin C, the primary water soluble anti-oxidant, which defends all aqueous areas of the body against free radicals that attack and damage normal cells. Pineapple is therefore a good booster of the immune system helping to prevent recurrent ear infections, cold or flu. Manganese, Thiamin (Vitamin B1) and Riboflavin Manganese is a co-factor in a number of enzymes acting in production and in anti-oxidant defenses. Thiamin and Riboflavin are also important in energy production.
Climate and soils: Pineapple grows best under year round uniformly warm temperatures. The leaf may be damaged and the plant weakened if temperatures get as high as 28 degrees. Soil must be well drained and mildly acidic for best results.
Pineapple can be propagated using any of four materials namely ratoon suckers (suckers arising below the ground which grow into new plants),suckers (originating in the leaf axils), slips (growing from the fruit) and crowns. For commercial purposes, slips and suckers are preferred to crowns. Propagules (material s for planting mentioned above) should be cut from the mother plant and set aside for a week or two to cure before planting. If the crown is to be used, any adhering flesh should be cut away.
After cutting, pull out the lower leaves so that the propagule can be firmly on ground without toppling over when planted. The plant requires thorough watering at planting and then light watering for a couple of weeks. The plant needs to enjoy full sun and is better established during the warmer months of the year. A complete fertilizer should be applied monthly once the propagule begins to put out new leaves. Pour or spray the fertilizer over the plant allowing some of it to collect in the leaf axils. After about six months, the fertilizer solution should be poured into the soil to avoid damaging the developing bud.