In the 1500’s, when the Spanish went exploring a new world, they discovered a lot of new food, like maize, sweet potato, avocado, papaya, tomato, cocoa, pecan, and … pineapple.
Originally from Brazil, pineapples were growing from the Caribbean to Peru when Columbus landed in 1492. The indigenous people used pineapple as a juice (fresh and fermented) as well as a food staple. And, they used it for medicine too. The juices from the stem of the pineapple were used to heal colds, diseases and digestion problems.
Europeans were fascinated by the new foods. The sweet, exotic-looking pineapple especially amazed them, quickly becoming a luxury item.
When the pineapple came to England in the 1600s it became a symbol of status. People carried them around as a show of wealth (sort of a Cartier watch of its day – with a real short life). You could actually rent a pineapple for an evening to carry to a social event, not to be eaten, just to show you were a person of wealth!
By the mid-1600’s pineapples were everywhere in Europe, on dishware patterns, on linens, as ornamentation for furniture, and even in the architecture of buildings. It was also a favorite sweet finish at the end of a fine dinner.
Even though Hawaii is known for pineapples, they actually weren’t grown there until the mid-1800’s. Already known as the “fruit of hospitality” since it was often gifted to European kings, Hawaii gave it a more modern tag, “the taste of Aloha.”
When you eat a pineapple, your tongue feels raw. There’s an enzyme in pineapples that breaks down the proteins in your mouth. The joke is that when you eat a pineapple, it starts eating you back. That enzyme is bromelain (often called the pineapple enzyme), and it’s from bromelain that pineapples give us their anti-inflammatory medicinal powers.
Today bromelain is used as an approved treatment after surgery for reducing inflammation and swelling. And, it’s used in nutraceuticals to treat osteoarthritis, autoimmune diseases and viral infections.
So, the next time you see the exotic shape of a pineapple adorning buildings or carved into antique furniture (and even modern pieces) don’t only think of its succulent taste, think about how it can also help treat your inflammation and soothe your sore joints.
Bromelain, one of the eight, great natural ingredients in Novo Renew.