Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – The sweet, the juicy, the refreshing piña! This burst of sunshine has amazing anti-inflammatory benefits from improving heart hearth, aiding in digestion, to reducing arthritic pain, and boosting the immune system. So, what is inflammation, and how does the tropical fruit aid in reducing this?
Inflammation; when people hear this word they think of pain! However, not all inflammation is bad. In fact, some of it is important for the healing process.
The inflammatory process occurs when outside invaders such as bacteria and viruses enter our body and cause damage. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells, extra blood, and nutrients to the area to help to fight these invaders.
Chemicals from the white blood cells enter the blood or tissues to protect the body from invaders. This causes a rise in blood flow to the areas of injury or infection, leading to the area becoming red, and hot. Furthermore, some of these chemicals can leak into the tissues which then results in swelling and may trigger nerves to cause the sensation of pain, hence the association of inflammation with pain.
Most inflammation from colds, cuts or other simple triggers will go away with a few hours or days, however inflammation from disease such as auto immune diseases can trigger the immune system to release white blood cells to fight invaders, even if there are no invaders!
This type of inflammation can cause damage to healthy body tissues and can last months to even years after the first triggers has gone. A common example of this type of long-term, chronic inflammation is arthritis, where joints can become red, hot, and swollen, and this damage can cause joint pain and stiffness. This is due to the higher number of white blood cells being sent to this area. The white blood cells release chemicals in the area which can cause joint irritation, swelling of the joint lining, and even loss of cartilage.
How does Piña help with inflammation? It contains particular enzymes such as Bromelain and Vitamin C, which have been proven to have the ability to reduce inflammation. Bromelain is mixture of enzymes only found in Piña, which has been proven to aid in the release of inflammation-fighting immune system compounds, stimulating a healthy immune system, reducing the symptoms of digestive disorders, and reduce inflammation associated with Arthritis.
Just one serving of Piña can provide the body with 131% of the daily recommended need for Vitamin C and 76% of the daily need for Manganese! Both of these nutrients have antioxidant properties that can aid in reducing inflammation in the body.
It may intrigue you to know that many of the antioxidants found in piña are bound, which means that the antioxidants can survive longer in the body, to produce longer lasting effects on boosting immune function and fighting inflammation.
There are plenty of fresh piña available in Puerto Vallarta and the greater Banderas Bay area right now, so go ahead look, squeeze and sniff!
Look for piñas that have vibrant green leaves and a deep yellow color with only a small amount of green, to ensure ripeness, as most stop ripening after being picked.
Squeeze the piña. You should feel a firm shell, but it should be be slightly soft with a little give as you squeeze it.
Smell the piña, when ripe, you should smell the bottom for a sweet smell to indicate ripeness.
Try this refreshing anti-inflammatory summer sorbet, the riper the piña, the better taste!
Anti-inflammatory Piña Sorbet Recipe
Serves 2-4 depending on serving size
3.5 cups piña (pineapple) pieces
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup water
Hemp seeds for topping
• Choose a fresh, ripe pineapple and chop into small pieces.
• Use baking paper to line a container and place the piña pieces next to each other, add another baking paper on top and place the rest if more space is needed.
• Once frozen, place the pieces of the piña in the blender along with the mint leaves, lime juice, honey and water and blend until a smooth consistency. If the mixture is too think add a little more water.
• Taste and add more honey if you prefer (depending on the ripeness of the pineapple)
• Place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.
• Freeze to sorbet consistency, and spoon out into a bowl.
• Top with a sprinkle of hemp seeds for a nice crunch and enjoy the refreshing taste and anti-inflammatory benefits!
Lonneke Botello Hernandez is a Clinical Nutritionist and Personal Trainer, who has experience in helping with many health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight, energy, joint health and many other areas. Contact her via the Aslon Antiaging Clinic Facebook page or website to see how she can help you on your health journey.