Pineapple, digestive and great source of vitamin C

The juicy pulp of the pineapple, its exotic aroma and refreshing flavor between sweet and acidic, in addition to being a good source of vitamin C and a great ally against stomach heaviness, make this fruit a true treasure.

Pineapple is mainly composed of water (around 85%), although it provides a good dose of carbohydrates (13,5%) and a small amount of fiber (1,5%). The fat and protein content is negligible. All this makes it light (only 57 calories per 100 grams). As the fruit ripens, its sugars (sucrose, fructose and glucose), all of which are quickly assimilated, increase and make it sweeter.

Regarding its micronutrients, pineapple is rich especially in Vitamin C (20 mg/100 g) and, to a lesser extent, in vitamins B1 (0,08 mg), B6 ​​(0,08 mg) and folic acid (9 mcg). A 250 gram serving provides more than 80% of the vitamin C needed per day. Pineapple is also a source of potassium (172 mg/100 g), magnesium (17 mg) and iron (0,4 mg). The latter, when accompanied by vitamin C, is better assimilated. The acidic notes are provided by malic and citric acids, which by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices improve digestion.

Pineapple. Very digestive

However, the component of greatest interest in the tropical pineapple is the bromelina. This protease – an enzyme that breaks down proteins – gives it a special medicinal use. Bromelain helps digest proteins by breaking them down into amino acids, which makes pineapple a very digestive fruit.

In tropical countries, this action is used to soften meats, simply leaving them to marinate for a few hours in pineapple juice, but for the same reason it can also interfere with the preparation of foods such as gelatin. Jellies of animal origin are proteins and denature in contact with pineapple juice.

As a dietary supplement, pineapple is excellent for those who practice a lot of physical exercise, since it is easy to digest and provides a good amount of sugars and vitamins. Furthermore, bromelain seems to exert a protective effect on the muscles, possibly derived from its anti-inflammatory action.

Pineapple is moderately sweet and a good source of fiber. If you are on a weight reduction diet, it is better to consume it whole than in juice, without wasting the central core, which is more fibrous and rich in bromelain. Some pineapples are not very juicy, and blending them is almost a waste because of the little juice they give. Due to its acidity and its proteolytic action, pineapple can be poorly digested by people who suffer from gastritis or a stomach or duodenum ulcer. In acute crises of these diseases, it is generally advisable to avoid its consumption.

When eaten raw, some advise adding a little salt as it seems to increase its aroma. It also reduces the irritating effect it may have on the mucous membranes in delicate people.

A very adaptable tropical flavor

Taken naturally it allows you to fully enjoy all its appetizer and digestive properties. However, its original texture and flavor, between sweet and acidic, make it a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It can be used to prepare sweet recipes and desserts as well as used in an endless number of savory dishes, just as it has been done in oriental cuisine, especially in spicy recipes and curries.

Its aromatic pulp, meaty and consistent, makes it ideal for preparing on the grill, on the grill or in countless stews. This exotic fruit can be used to enrich rice dishes or as a delicious garnish for meat or fish, which also takes advantage of its proteolytic effect.

Pineapple should be consumed as soon as possible once purchased, although it can be kept for a few days in a cool, dry place, and on a soft base. It should never be stored in the refrigerator, unless it is already peeled and cut.

Dr. Josep Lluís Berdonces (health)
Santi Ávalos (kitchen)