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When I was kid pineapples came from a can and where most commonly eaten on little sticks with cheese or as a topping on pizza. The range and availability of fresh produce in the UK has changed massively since then. Fresh pineapples are easy to come by and often included in promotional offers at the major supermarkets. Oh, and they add a delicious, creamy sweetness to juices.

Benefits of Juicing Pineapples

Pineapples are packed with vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. All the nutrients pineapple contains promote good health, including helping to prevents cough and colds and strengthens bones.

Anti-Inflammatory and Digestive Benefits

Pineapple contains a compound called bromelain. The protein-digesting enzymes in it are thought to aid digestion. While not all studies agree on its effectiveness, bromelain is used worldwide as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-coagulant, and is thought to have anti-cancer properties.

Bromelain is a complex mixture of substances that can be extracted from the stem and core fruit of the pineapple. Among dozens of components known to exist in this crude extract, the best studied components are a group of protein-digesting enzymes (called cysteine proteinases).

Originally, researchers believed that these enzymes provided the key health benefits found in bromelain, a popular dietary supplement containing these pineapple extracts. In addition, researchers believed that these benefits were primarily limited to help with digestion in the intestinal tract. However, further studies have shown that bromelain has a wide variety of health benefits, and that many of these benefits may not be related to the different enzymes found in this extract.

Excessive inflammation, excessive coagulation of the blood, and certain types of tumour growth may all be reduced by therapeutic doses of bromelain when taken as a dietary supplement.

Pineapple vs Arthritis

Pineapples can greatly alleviate the pain of arthritis while at the same time improve the condition by strengthening the bones. Apart from arthritis, it can also improve other similar conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and gout.

When I interviewed Mark Beddoe, who lost 42 pounds in his first 3 months of juicing, he spoke about a recent incident when he experienced gout pain.

Mark said “A specific example of how juicing appears to have had an effect on my health, beyond the weight loss, happened in September. My juicer  stopped working and we had two family birthdays in the same week. This didn’t make for a particularly healthy time. The result of this was that I had a really bad gout attack on the Thursday night. By Friday morning I could barely hobble down the stairs to my home office.”

Mark continued, “I remembered that I had read that pineapple was really good for alleviating arthritis. I had already tried the Sweet Potato Pie recipe (which includes pineapple) and decided to go mad with this recipe for the rest of the day to see if helped to improve my gout! I’m not sure exactly what happened during that day, but I do know that my gout pain and inflammation virtually stopped! It has never subsided that quickly before. At best, with the same level of severity, it typically takes a week, and at worst a couple of weeks. I can only put it down to the juice. If ever I needed something to convince me to keep juicing, apart from the weight loss I have experienced, then this was it!”

Pineapple vs Cancer

Two molecules isolated from an extract of crushed pineapple stems have shown promise in fighting cancer growth. One molecule called CCS blocks a protein called Ras, which is defective in approximately 30% of all cancers. The other, called CCZ, stimulates the body’s own immune system to target and kill cancer cells.

A team from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research discovered that the extract also had pharmacological properties and could activate specific immune cells while, simultaneously, blocking the immune function of other cells.

Lead researcher Dr Tracey Mynott said: “We suspected that different components of the crude mixture might be responsible for bromelain’s biological effects. In searching for these components, we discovered the CCS and CCZ proteins and found that they could block growth of a broad range of tumour cells, including breast, lung, colon, ovarian and melanoma.”

“The origin of many anti-cancer drugs can be found in nature”

Both CCS and CCZ are protease enzymes, more usually associated with breaking down proteins, as in the digestive process. Dr Mynott said it was the first time this class of enzymes had been shown to have a specific effect on the immune system.

“The way CCS and CCZ work is different to any other drug in clinical use today. Therefore, CCS and CCZ will represent a totally new way of treating disease and potentially a whole new class of anti-cancer agent.”

Dr Julie Sharp, at Cancer Research UK, said: “The origin of many anti-cancer drugs can be found in nature. However, it’s early days for this research and the real test will be to see if the effects seen in the lab can be reproduced successfully in patients.”

Choosing a Pineapple

Let your nose be your guide to selecting a pineapple that will eat well. It should smell fragrant, but not of boiled sweets (too ripe) or dank drains (too long in storage).

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