In the thriller Deadly Secrets, Gavin Shawlens is scoffing a pineapple to save his life. In a desperate scene, Gavin is poisoned, and he turns to the power of the pineapple. How can the humble pineapple save him? The popular fruit contains a smart component normally involved in the ripening process; an enzyme called bromelain.
The medicinal properties of pineapple were known over 600 years ago by South American Indians who found magical healing properties and pineapple became a symbol of good health as well as a gift for friends and strangers. Pineapple flesh was used as a digestion aid and as a cleansing agent to improve skin texture. Warriors prepared a poultice using pineapple flesh for serious wounds and a 'bandage' from pineapple leaves for superficial cuts.
Another regular use of pineapple by the Indians was to overcome painful bellyache that accompanied feasting on meat. Consumption of meat 600 years ago was much greater than that of today. After a successful hunt, a hunter might eat more than 1kg of meat at one sitting. Such an indulgence would strain the digestive system.
Even today, meat impaction is common in the emergency room of a general hospital. The medics call it 'steakhouse overload', and it is often caused when lumps of meat are trapped in the gut. Treatment is simple, and involves the patient drinking a precise formula solution of protease such as bromelain at regular intervals over a set period of time.
In Deadly Secrets Gavin uses his understanding of pineapple constituents to save the day, and it is amazing how certain foodstuff can provide health benefits. Pineapple researchers have found that bromelain may be useful in treating blood clots, which are responsible for heart attack and stroke. Others, in the cosmetic industry have evaluated bromelain skin-peel preparations to improve skin texture.
Although a great deal of research is still needed on the mechanisms by which bromelain exerts its various effects, it is clear that pineapples and, in particular its component bromelain, have potential for supporting healthier living.
What other secret health benefits are hidden in our food?
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Gordon!
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