Pineapple Power – 6 Hidden Benefits
The homely pineapple you just bought at the local market is actually a wonder food with a fantastic list of benefits you may never have thought of before. It boasts so many positive qualities, that it sounds too good to be true, but the pineapple’s a fruit that’s healer, protector, nutritional powerhouse, and symbol of warmth and hospitality, all rolled into one. And it does even more.
The pineapple looks like a big pine cone of course, and that’s how it got its name. It’s beautiful in its own right and looks great as a centerpiece on your table. It stands tall in the middle of a bowl of fruit, and it brings up images of exotic lands and healthful tropical living. And certainly, when ripe, the pineapple fruit is delicious to eat and a dessert favorite served raw, baked into cakes, or used in toppings, sauces, and marinades.
But the pineapple stands out in other ways and offers hidden benefits:
1) An International Symbol
Perhaps the pineapple is the only food item that is now a symbol meaning gracious sharing and friendship around the world. This gives it a peculiar distinction among foods and there are stories galore about the popularity of the pineapple and how it came to symbolize social charm, warmth, and hospitality.
2) A Story of Friendship
As the story goes, trade ship captains in colonial days brought pineapples home from exotic venues like the West Indies. It was a most revered delicacy and if you received one as a gift, you were considered a true friend. Plus, if you were invited to visit the captain’s home to share a pineapple, you were seen as a most warmly welcomed and special guest.
So, the custom was born. When a seafaring captain returned, he would place a pineapple on his doorstep or on the fence post in front of his home as a signal to welcome visits from his friends. From that time on, the pineapple emerged as a distinctive symbol still used today to offer welcome, friendship and hospitality.
Another legend has it that the Native American Carib tribe used pineapples as hospitality tokens, and that Columbus and his sailors then spread the souvenirs and the idea of friendship tokens around Europe. And of course, Southerners in the U.S. claim the pineapple as their own welcome symbol and you’ll find innumerable images of it throughout the south – inside and outside homes.
3) A Nutritional Powerhouse
Pineapples are absolutely loaded with all kinds of vitamins and minerals like the B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, beta carotene, folic acid and dietary fiber. It’s also full of bromelain – an extremely important enzyme that helps us balance and neutralize fluids, reduces inflammation and swelling, and aids in digestion too.
Since pineapple juice acts as an anti-inflammatory, it is said that it can relieve carpal tunnel syndrome, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, injuries, and can aid in the healing process after surgery. Pineapple juice also works to dissolve excessive mucus and can offer relief to asthmatics and people with bronchitis or sinusitis. It will even help to relieve a sore throat.
4) A Decorator’s Delight
You can find decorative ceramics featuring the pineapple represented in different art forms from as early as the 1600’s. The custom of portraying pineapple images in decorator items is still extremely popular today. Wherever it is found and in whatever stylized image, the pineapple still carries with it the legacy of the returning wanderer, welcoming friends back into the fold.
Today you can find a Pineapple Welcome Doormat featuring a pineapple medallion in the center that curiously revives the captain’s custom of leaving a real pineapple at his doorstep. It’s the same message of hospitality, using the same beautiful image. Pineapple door knockers and patio plaques are available and even a Talk of the Town Bird Feeder, utilizing the pineapple form as it beckons songbirds to your garden.
Inside the home are plentiful examples of pineapple décor including paintings and wall hangings. Pineapple Pewter Chambersticks (candleholders) and matching snuffers are reminiscent of colonial history in America. A Williamsburg, Virginia collection of pineapple- designed needlepoint coasters and embroidered hand towels create an elegant welcome in the guest bathroom, topped off with a pineapple votive for soft surrounding light.
The image of the pineapple also serves as beautiful adornment for the human form. If you receive pineapple jewelry as a gift, the tradition of marking you as a true friend is once again revived in the creation of a pineapple jewelry symbol to be worn with pride.
There are pineapple charms and pineapple pendants and matching earrings, pins, and bracelets made into costume jewelry and into the finest artistic pieces in sterling silver and gold.
The shape of the pineapple is instantly recognized no matter how it is portrayed and though in life, the pineapple is a thorny scaly thing its artistic replicas are lovely testaments to the elegant lines of nature.
The pineapple, in all of its forms has become a hot collector’s item. Heirloom antiques, jewelry, kitchen and home accessories are still on the treasure-hunt lists, as well as contemporary home accessories and garden décor. Candles, statuary, ceramics, pottery, cutlery, calendars, cookie jars – you name it, the pineapple adds something special to the look and feel of a myriad of available products and is as popular today as it was in colonial times.
There’s no doubt about it, this golden fruit is a multi-tasker. The pineapple has been a symbol of friendship and hospitality for centuries, a delicious, highly sought after fruit you can find in modern supermarkets year-round, a power food that’s packed with vital nutrients for optimum health, and an image that imbues style, elegance and glamour to our homes and gardens, an unusual gift, and a plentiful collectors’ item.
Most of all, the pineapple, throughout the ages, remains as a beautiful golden image that says, “Welcome friends, to my home and my life.”