Monday, October 20, 2008

Pineapples - A Taste of Warmer Climes

During these cold, chilly days and nights, our thoughts immediately turn to the tropics. Unfortunately a lot of us can't visit the Hawaiian Islands or South America so we could make do with a taste of them. That taste is the luscious pineapple.It reminds of warm turquoise waters and balmy star filled nights. Eating one gives us a mini vacation from our stressed filled days.

Everyone associates this fruit or the ananas comosas with Hawaii. Its' actual origins lie not in the South Pacific but South America. The tree first grew in Brazil and Paraguay. Indigenous tribes spread it through South America and then central America. In 1493 Columbus found the fruit on the island of Guadalupe and brought it back to Spain. Sailors soon realized that the pineapple prevented them from acquiring scurvy and soon it was taken on international voyages. The Spanish them brought tit to the Philippines and then to the islands of Guam and Hawaii. It was a gift to Charles II of England in 1660 and then became a staple plant of English conservatories.Nowadays pineapples are sold everywhere thanks, in part, to Dole.

Eating pineapple has its' pluses and minuses,It's a good source of Vitamin C and manganese. I'd recommend having a helping or two a week to ward off any oncoming colds or flu. However too much pineapple is no good for you. It can cause some damage to any one with kidney or liver disease. Pineapples have bromelein in them, an anti coagulant (this also causes it to break down meat proteins which is why it is always serve with a heavy meats like pork and ham). Hemophiliacs should stay away from it.

Pineapples are a sunny treat and ward any colds. Just remember that they do have some powerful enzymes in them so go easy eating them. A cup or two a week of cut pineapple should do it for the cold season. Besides you can only have so much paradise.

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