Fine Assamese Pineapples

Sapna Kashyap/New Delhi

Fresh pineapple salad between meals is a refreshing snack. The natives of Brazil and Uruguay, Pineapples are grown in abundance in India and are known for their succulent taste and aromatic flavour.

In 1916, Welsh evangelist Rev. Watkin Roberts had led 15 Hmar families from Tripura to settle in the Hmarkhawlien area in Assam's Cachar district and taught the people to cultivate pineapples in this hill-top settlement. The  Hmarkhawlien region, it is reliably learnt has created a record  as its farmers have harvested over one-crore pineapples!

Considered as the juiciest pineapples in the country, the Hmar villagers produce is sold across the country. Ngur Sun Thong, a Hmar tribal leader and former chairman of the Cachar Hill Tribal Welfare Board, asserts the pineapple farmers are now toying with the idea of "giving a brand name to their produce for better marketing and export to other countries". Hmarkhawlien is under Lakhipur subdivision of Cachar district.

The Hmarkhawlien pineapples are reckoned to be the sweetest among all pineapple varieties in the country as during the monsoon period their sugar content varies between 16 and 28 per cent. The nutrient value in pineapples includes calcium, potassium, fiber and Vitamin C. Pineapple is low in fat and cholesterol. Vitamin C is the body's primary water soluble antioxidant, against free radicals that attack and damage normal cells. It is also a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, copper and dietary fiber. Pineapple is a digestive aid and a natural anti-inflammatory fruit.

A group of sulfur-containing proteolytic enzymes in pineapple aid digestion. Fresh pineapples are rich in bromelain. Bromelain has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory effects, reducing swelling in inflammatory conditions such as acute sinusitis, sore throat, arthritis and gout, and speeding recovery from injuries and surgery.

Pineapple should be eaten alone between meals. Pineapple enzymes have been used with success to treat rheumatoid arthritis and to speed tissue repair as a result of injuries, diabetic ulcers and general surgery. Pineapple reduces blood clotting and helps remove plaque from the walls of arteries. Studies suggest that pineapple enzymes may improve circulation in those with constricted arteries.



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