Native to the Americas and a member of the bromeliad family (the only edible fruit of its kind), the pineapple (ananas comosus) is a nutritious all-star hailed for its multiple gut-healing and culinary applications around the world. A study published by Biochemical Reports in 2016 reports that pineapples have been used extensively in folk medicine for healing, health-promoting purposes since ancient times. Pineapple’s unique anatomy and properties make it a compelling, tropical emblem—plus, the fruit is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and helpful compounds that can help fight inflammation and disease.
Beyond their plump golden interior, the stem and peel (and sometimes leaves) of pineapple plants are also praised for their anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting abilities. That’s because they contain bromelain, a type of digestive enzymes derived from pineapple juice, peel, and stem. Among its multiple uses, bromelain’s therapeutic benefits expand from treating osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease, to reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
We can all agree that food is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal when it comes to combating inflammation. Yet, how we produce, process, consume, and discard our food is also an imperative agent of our individual, social, and environmental transformation. If you need some extra convincing incentives for reusing your pineapple peels, let’s take a quick look at the intersection between pineapple biowaste and our planet.