I'm prickly, but sweet and full of surprises.

As the steamy tropical heat beats down on soil teeming with life, a little plant is thriving in the warm dirt. Well-equipped with spikes on top, and with a knobbly, roughly-hewn exterior, the seemingly abrasive fruit is sweet like sugar on the inside.

Originally from South America, the pineapple has become a symbol of tropical bounty and lusciousness. Much like other tropical plants, the pineapple also contains healing properties that aid in soothing swollen joints and achy muscles, warding off inflammation, and easing digestion. This is solely due to the presence of bromelain, a protein extract that thwarts the growth of bad human cells that often lead to a major disease.

Health benefits aside, may I just admit that the pineapple is gobsmackingly delicious! There are endless possibilities when it comes to epicurean experimentation, especially when it seems that no matter what dish pineapple is incorporated in, the popular fruit elevates it even further. Pineapple chow (aka salsa) is like a religion in some parts.

In other applications, pineapple juice has also been used to tenderise meat, add sweetness to curries, and it’s even believed to aid in fading skin blemishes. The high potency of vitamin C and, of course, bromelain assists in breaking down the darker pigments and also softens skin in the process. Just be sure to avoid the eye area and, of course, consult a professional if you feel the need.

Bottom line, the pineapple (though getting to its sweet core may seem a daunting task) comes up aces since its fibrous flesh is good for both your insides and outsides. After all, nothing worth having is free from trouble.

Pineapple Points

Pineapple grows in warm climes, such as Hawaii, Brazil, Trinidad, the Philippines and even in Taiwan and Vietnam (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Statistics Division).

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem and is used for reducing swelling after surgery or injury, and as a muscle relaxant (National Institutes of Health).

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem and is used for reducing swelling after surgery or injury, and as a muscle relaxant (National Institutes of Health).

Bromelain has been used for hundreds of years in folk medicine as a digestive aid and to treat inflammation and other health problems. In 1493, Christopher Columbus came upon pineapples in Guadeloupe and took them to Spain with him. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the plants were distributed to the Pacific Islands, India, and Africa.

Pineapple was first established as a commercial crop in Hawaii in 1885.

Pineapple contains protein-digesting enzymes that are said to aid digestion. While the studies vary on the effectiveness of bromelain, it is widely used as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-coagulant, and is thought to have anti-cancer properties (www.theguardian.com).

Check out this punchy pineapple marinade that’s great for poultry.
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