Despite their rough, scaly green, brown or yellowish skin the pineapples also known as Ananas are juicy, vibrant tropical fruits that balance the tastes of sweet and tart. A pineapple is good for one’s healthy wellbeing with a unique nutritional profile and also a good economy booster.
Pineapples grow in tropical climates such as southern and western portions of Africa. Ghana, Nigeria and Ivory Cost are the largest pineapple producers in the continent. In South Africa, the Eastern Cape is the biggest pineapple producing region in the country. Burthurst and East London provide the warm and frost-free conditions to bring pineapples to perfect ripeness. Africa has a unique advantage to profit from this lucrative market for the tropical fruit which grows abundantly on our continent. Africa has a strong geographic advantage, being the region that enjoys all year round sunlight and has a perfect climate for pineapples to thrive. Pineapples grow and perform very well in the many parts of sub-Saharan Africa where the soil and tropical climate is just perfect for them. They don’t require a lot of water and can survive the little soil. Pineapples have long and tough leaves which use the power of the sun to provide all the food and water the plant needs, and they multiply fast and only require little care after planting.
Its fruiting season runs from March until June but pineapples can be found on the market all year round. In South Africa, all produced pineapple fruit is processed at the Summerpride Foods factory in East London, which supplies high-quality concentrate to international beverage industry. Blue Skies, based in Ghana purchases harvested pineapples from local communities and neighbouring countries a large proportion of these is are processed into fresh pineapple chunks, juice and concentrates of which is exported to Europe. Entrepreneurs can make up to three to five times more money if this fruit is exported, for example Ghana and Ivory Cost are making more than fifty million US Dollars every year from pineapple sells to Europe.
Pineapples are high in fibre with a firm texture and it is bromelain rich (bromelain is a relatively rare enzyme which can breakdown proteins) which makes them a far much healthier choice of dessert than the vast majority of sweet foods one can have. The best time to take a pineapple is on its own on an empty stomach and they are a surprise to one’s health. You can enjoy a pineapple as a dessert, fruit, morning or afternoon snack and as freshly made pineapple juice.
Health benefits of Pineapples
- Digestion: because of high fibre and water content; they help prevent constipation and promote regularity and healthy digestive tract.
- Asthma prevention: it has a beta-carotene which prevents the development of Asthma.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Coughs and colds: as an excellent source of the antioxidant Vitamin C, pineapples can help in preventing and curing coughs and colds.
- Healing and inflammation: some studies have shown that the enzymes found in pineapples can reduce swelling, bruising and shorten the healing time and pain associated with injury and surgical intervention.
- Bromelain is currently used for treating and reduction of inflammation, sprains, strains and other minor muscle injuries as well as swelling related to ear, nose and throat surgeries or trauma.
- Pineapples also contain high potassium which reduces the risk of stroke, protection against the loss of muscle mass, prevention of bone mineral density and the reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
- Pineapples can help with prevention of the formation of free radicals known to cause cancers – prostate, colon etc.
- Lowers blood glucose levels in type 1 Diabetic people and improves blood sugar in type 2 Diabetic people.
- Pineapples also have astringent properties, which strengthen gums and make sure your teeth do not become loose. Astringent agents also help to tighten tissues and tone the body. Prevents also hair loss, muscles weakness and skin loosening does not occur.
- Pineapples as Vitamin C powerhouse, helps with the boosting of the immune system by stimulating the white blood cells.
So go on enjoy the sweet, juicy and tart pineapples guilty free and share the health benefits!!
By Mazi Marry Phiri