(NaturalNews) Nothing brings up the images of summer breezes and relaxation like pineapple, the sweet juicy treat from the tropics. While thoughts of fun in the sun ease the mind, eating pineapple can greatly ease the body. Bromelain, the key enzyme in pineapple, banishes inflammation as effectively as drugs. It reduces swelling, helps against sore throat, treats arthritis and gout, and speeds digestion of proteins. New research is even showing pineapple to be highly effective at cancer prevention and treatment.
Bromelain keeps cancers from getting started and shrinks tumors
In a study reported on March 30, in the Cancer Letter, scientists at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research in India, noted the anti-inflammatory, anti-invasive, and anti-metastatic properties of bromelain. They studied its anti tumor-initiating effects against induced skin tumor formation in mice.
Pre-treatment with bromelain resulted in reduction in cumulative number of tumors, and in average numbers of tumors per mouse. Reduction in tumor volume was 65%. They investigated components of cell signaling pathways by targeting proteins involved in cell death. Bromelain treatment resulted in up-regulation of the anti-cancer gene p53, with subsequent caspase activation. A marked inhibition of Cox-2 expression and inactivation of pro-inflammatory nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B) was recorded. They concluded that Bromelain was protective of DNA formation, and induced modulation of inappropriate cell signaling cascades is a coherent approach in achieving chemoprevention.
Bromelain has strong anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits
Bromelain from pineapple is a complex mixture of substances, the most widely studied of which is a group of protein digesting enzymes, or proteolytic enzymes. Enzymes give bromelain its fibronolytic and antithrombotic feature. Tumors often have a protective covering made of fibrin that can be dissolved by the fibronolytic action of bromelain, one reason it is so effective against cancer. Two clinical trials with heart patients have shown an elimination of thrombosis with bromelain. Therapeutic doses of dietary supplements of bromelain put a rapid halt to inflammation, and are able to reduce excessive coagulation of the blood.
Bromelain is approved by the German Commission E for the treatment of sinusitis. Clinical studies have shown that children diagnosed with acute sinusitis recovered significantly faster when treated with bromelain than when given other treatments
Bromelain is effective in treating bruises, sprains and strains by reducing swelling, tenderness and pain. It works well at reducing post operative swelling.
In a literature examination published in the 2008 Alternative Medicine Review, enzyme supplementation was noted as playing an integral role in the management of various digestive disorders, particularly those regarding a lack of pancreatic enzymes. Historically enzymes from pigs and cows have been the preferred choice for digestive aids. However, bromelain, can serve as an effective aid in the breakdown of proteins. It works so well in the digestion of protein that it can be used as a highly effective meat tenderizer. Bromelain can act synergistically with other enzymes to produce optimal digestive results.
Bromelain has been reported to be effective against a variety of inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease. A study by scientists at Duke University Medical Center reported in the July, 2008 edition of Clinical Immunology found that bromelain can effectively decrease neutrophil migration to sites of acute inflammation, It supports the specific removal of a critical chemokine receptor as its mechanism of action.
Bromelain offers protection and treatment for macular degeneration
Eating fruit may be the best way to protect your eyesight. Findings reported in the June, 2004 Archives of Ophthalmology showed that eating three or more servings of fruit a day lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the primary cause of vision loss in older adults. The study involved 110,000 men and women. Researchers evaluated their consumption of fruits, vegetables, carotenoids, and antioxidant vitamins A, C and E on early and advanced macular degeneration. Interestingly, intakes of vegetables, vitamins and carotenoids were not significantly related to the disease. However, fruit intake was shown to be highly protective against development of the more severe form of the disease.
Antioxidants in pineapple protect the immune system
Pineapple is a super source of the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin C. This important vitamin mops up free radicals implicated in the aging process. Free radicals damage normal cells and have been shown to promote clogged arteries and diabetic heart disease. They can cause airway spasms that lead to asthma attacks, and can help colon cancer get started. Free radicals are implicated in joint pain and osteoarthritis. Additionally, Vitamin C is an excellent cold and flu fighter due to its ability to support the immune system.
Vitamin C in pineapple is good for oral health. A study at State University of New York at Buffalo found that Vitamin C can reduce the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. It increases the ability of the body to fight bacteria and other toxins that contribute to gum disease. Periodontal disease destroys gum tissue and the underlying jaw bone. It has been linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes,
Tantalize your taste buds with pineapple
To enhance the body's healing mechanisms and promote overall good health, add fresh pineapple to your diet whenever possible. Always choose fresh fruit because it has the most healing properties. Most of the bromelain in canned pineapple is destroyed by the heat of the canning process.
There are several varieties of pineapple on the market. Some are ripe while still green in color, and others turn to gold when ripe. Smelling the pineapple is one way to tell it is ripe. If it gives off a sweet, fresh tropical smell, it is ready to eat. Another way to tell a ripe pineapple is to pull one of the leaves in its top knot. If the leaf remains stubbornly attached, the pineapple is not ready. The day those leaves can be easily pulled out is the day the pineapple has reached its peak of ripeness and is loaded with sweet, tangy flavor.
To prepare pineapple, cut the top off and make a narrow cut across the bottom. Place the remaining pineapple upright on a cutting board and slice off the outer skin at a depth that cuts off most of the eyes. The few eyes that remain can be eaten or cut out individually. To separate the succulent meat of the pineapple from its hard inner core, make four top-to-bottom slices around the core. This allows the pineapple to be removed from the core in four large blocks. As large blocks, the pineapple will store better and retain more of its sweetness. It can be cut into smaller chunks right before serving. Another way to do this is to slice the whole pineapple and use a round punch such as a cookie cutter on each piece to cut a perfectly round center hole that removes the core. Pineapple cut this way should be served immediately.
Almost any summer dish can be embellished by pineapple. It can be added to a cooked dish right before serving, or used in salads and tropical drinks. For maximum health benefits, pineapple should be eaten raw, and away from foods containing protein. If pineapple is eaten with protein, its digestive enzymes will be used to help digest that protein, rather than being available for use in the body to cleanse it of unwanted foreign proteins.
Try these pineapple smoothies:
Pineapple and Kale Smoothie (just a hint of sweetness)
1 1/2 cups cold water Half a pineapple, cored and chopped 2 cups washed kale Blend ingredients in blender
Pineapple, Banana, Mango Smoothie (a real tropical treat)
1 cup crushed ice 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, cored and chopped 1 large ripe sliced banana 1 cup sliced mango Blend ingredients in blender. Garnish with lime slices.
Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.