If you like pina colada… The tune of that smooth song by Rupert Holmes (1979) always puts me in a relaxed, easy-going mood. Listening to that song and thinking of sipping a cool, sweet pina colada, you’ve also got to imagine the correct ambience for it. Afterall, it’s not like a beer which can be gulped down anywhere. No, to really enjoy a pina colada, it’s important for the setting to be right, that’s just the kind of drink it is. Onboard a cruise ship, in the privacy of your suite’s balcony, or with friends on the breezy deck as the sun hangs low in the horizon, something like that perhaps.


It was also on my mind: can a pina colada work without pineapples? The reason I pondered this was because throughout the current cruise season, here at Sofresh we’ve been supplying tons of pineapples to our cruise ship clients. Well, my research informs me that pineapples are a key ingredient in making a perfect pina colada, from the pineapple juice needed to the pineapple wedge on the rim of the glass.


So the answer is no, a pina colada just cannot work without pineapples. And thus our cruise ship clients will keep ordering massive amounts of pineapple from us each season. Or course it’s not all for pina coladas onboard, although I’m sure there’ll be a lot of those served. Pineapples are versatile and can be juiced, added to salads, cooked, made into desserts and so on, all of which to keep the many passengers onboard happily and healthily fed.


And healthy pineapples are indeed. An average serving of pineapple (about 160-170 grams) will give you a whopping 105%DV of vitamin C! To explain %DV (ie. daily value) simply, that’s 105% of that nutrient (ie. vitamin C) that one needs each day. In short, eat that serving of pineapple, and you’re sorted as far as the vitamin C requirement for that day is concerned.


Vitamin C is important to us because it’s our body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant. Antioxidants protect us against free radicals which otherwise would roam wantonly inside our bodies to attack and damage normal healthy cells. Free radicals are known to promote arterial plaque buildup leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease. They have also been shown to cause spasms in the airway leading to asthma attacks, damage cells in the colon leading to colon cancer, and contribute to joint pain and disabilities as in osteoathritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown that diets rich in vitamin C can prevent or greatly reduce the severity of these ailments linked to free radicals. So in this particular fight, eating pineapples regularly would provide a real boost.


Another group of people who should regularly eat pineapples are athletes and outdoorsy types. That’s because pineapple is an excellent source of manganese, an essential trace mineral required by the body for energy production. Additionally, pineapple is a good source of thiamin (a B vitamin) which acts as a cofactor in enzyme reactions that also help the body produce energy. Yet another benefit of eating pineapple regularly is that pineapples have been shown to improve digestion, thus helping our body to better absorb nutrients and other goodness from the food we’ve eaten in a meal together with pineapple.


Actually one doesn’t have to be a sportsperson or love the outdoors to love pineapples, because all of us have felt fatigued and low on energy before at some point, some people more often than others. Pineapples can provide a real burst of energy, or to combat fatigue, for us “less active types” too. Consuming pineapples could even help those who have to pull all-nighters be more productive and recover faster. And for those who have to travel on red-eye flights for work, perhaps drinking pineapple juice onboard would be a better pick-me-up-and-keep-me-going choice than apple or orange juice.


Some recent studies have shown that eating three servings of fruit a day protects better against age-related macular degeneration than vegetables (eg. carrots), which was thought to be the way to go before. Age-related macular degeneration is the primary cause of vision loss in older adults. While three servings of fruit per day may sound like a lot, with a little strategy it’s really quite easy to manage.


For example, you can start the day with freshly blended pineapple juice or by adding pieces of pineapple to your smoothie mix, including the harder stem in the centre of the pineapple that contains a lot of the pineapple’s goodness but is difficult to eat on its own. A good daily habit is to finish lunch off with fruit, and from now on you can include a slice of pineapple. If you like yoghurt for a healthy anytime snack, add pineapple chunks. For dinner, you can add small slices of pineapple to your salad, along with other fruits. And for pizza lovers, that pineapple-topped Hawaiian doesn’t sound so sinful now, right?


Here at Sofresh, we supply all sorts of pineapples according to our clients’ requirements: fully ripe and ready to be eaten, half ripe to allow to ripen onboard and used later during the cruise, super-sweet honey variants, the more tart-tasting variants, and so on. There seems to be a type of pineapple for every tastebud and need, but whichever type of pineapple required we always want to make sure it’s good enough to be loaded onboard.


Because on top of everything else that the pineapples will be used for during the cruise, they’ve got to make the perfect pina colada too! To find a better setting than onboard a cruise to enjoy one will be a difficult task indeed. Till the next one!


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