17 Nutritional Benefits of Pineapples

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Pineapple is a delicious tropical fruit, celebrated for centuries, not only for its unique taste but also for its miraculous health benefits. Eat a cup of pineapple chunks to reap the amazing benefits, such as boosting immunity, improving bone and eye health, and aiding in digestion. It is also anti-inflammatory in nature and helps in curing coughs and colds and accelerating weight loss.

Pineapple (also known as ananas) is covered with thorny spikes and topped with hard, waxy leaves that are sometimes up to thirty per fruit. The fruit is up to a foot long and has a combination of sweet and tart taste. Pineapple belongs to the Bromeliaceae family and is composite fruit made of coalesced berries that grow at the crown of a fruiting tree, as per a book published by David H Benzing in the Cambridge University Press.

The name pineapple evolved in the 17th century due to its structure and appearance being similar to pine cones. According to a study published by A. Hassan, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Malaysia, pineapple is the most important tropical fruit after banana and orange.

Watch Video: 6 Surprising Benefits Of Pineapple

Nutrition Facts

Pineapple, raw, all varieties
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]86
Energy [kcal]50
Protein [g]0.54
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.12
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]13.12
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.4
Sugars, total [g]9.85
Calcium, Ca [mg]13
Iron, Fe [mg]0.29
Magnesium, Mg [mg]12
Phosphorus, P [mg]8
Potassium, K [mg]109
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.12
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]47.8
Thiamin [mg]0.08
Riboflavin [mg]0.03
Niacin [mg]0.5
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.11
Folate, DFE [µg]18
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]3
Vitamin A, IU [IU]58
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.02
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.7
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Pineapple Nutrition

Pineapple is a storehouse of several health benefits due to its nutrient content. It contains bromelain, protein, carbohydrates, sugar, and soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, as per the NISCAIR Online Periodicals Laboratory. The vitamins in these fruits include vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamin, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, and folate, as per the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Minerals like potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, sodium, and magnesium are also found in pineapples. These tropical fruits are low in calories and are, therefore, a major part of weight loss diets.

Pineapple Uses

The fruit can be added to your daily diet in many forms, most commonly by cutting them into pineapple chunks to snack on! Crushed pineapple can also be added to cupcakes, cookies, bars, ice creams, yogurt, and various other desserts. Fresh pineapple juice or smoothie is another popular and delicious way to start your day.

The pineapple upside down cake is an all-time favorite of food enthusiasts around the world. Its antioxidant-rich juice is also enjoyed around the world as the tropical drink, Pina colada. Whereas pineapple leaves are used as wallpaper and in ceiling insulation. Pineapple fragrance oils are also popular due to their tropical touch.

Health Benefits of Pineapple

The pineapple fruit is known to offer several benefits. Let us discuss each benefit in detail below.

Rich in Antioxidants

As per a research by Lu XH, South Subtropical Crop Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, pineapple is a rich source of flavonoids, which plays an important role in fighting oxidative stress in the body. In another study conducted by M Amzad Hossain, Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Nizwa, it stated that the antioxidant activity of pineapple is established by its phenolic content and ‘pineapple fruit being rich in phenolics may provide a good source of antioxidants’.

Boosts Immunity & Treats Sinus

Pineapple is rich in vitamin C, which makes it a good source of ascorbic acid, according to a study published in the International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences. Vitamin C helps in reducing illnesses and boosting the immune system by stimulating the activity of the white blood cells in the body.

This fruit is rich in both bromelain and vitamin C, therefore it helps in preventing and treating respiratory illnesses and reducing the phlegm and mucus build up in the respiratory tracts and sinus cavities, as per a research conducted by JM Braun, University of Cologne.

In order to check the impact of pineapple on immunity levels, almost 100 children were fed no fruit, some fruit, and lots of fruit daily in a nine-week study. Children who ate this fruit showed a lower risk of viral infections and had almost four times more white blood cells than the other two groups. This clearly shows that consuming pineapple daily is positively linked to increased immunity levels.

Whole and sliced pineapple isolated on the wooden table

Aids in Digestion

According to a research conducted by Roxas Mario, Naturopathic Doctor, Thorne, US, eating fresh pineapple in all forms regularly can protect you from many health conditions, including constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This benefit of pineapple is linked to the presence of bromelain in it, which also helps to bulk up the stool. The enzyme bromelain is also known to break down proteins and improve digestion as per research published by Pavan R, Mangalayatan University, Aligarh.

Prevents Cancer

Pineapple has been directly related to preventing cancers of the mouth, throat, and breast as it is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin A, beta-carotene, bromelain, flavonoids, and manganese.

According to a report published by Professor Pavan R, Mangalayatan University, Aligarh, bromelain possesses anti-cancer properties and promotes apoptotic cell death.

Another research conducted by Professor Romano B, University of Naples, suggests that bromelain can be helpful for those suffering from colorectal cancer. It also states that bromelain has the chemo-preventive effect on colon cancer patients. It exerts anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects in colorectal carcinoma cells and chemopreventive actions in colon carcinogenesis in vivo.

Reduces Inflammation

High vitamin C content in pineapple helps you heal wounds and injuries quickly. It is seen as a healing vitamin because collagen is the essential protein base of blood vessel walls, skin, organs, and bones. Furthermore, bromelain in it is used in Europe to heal surgical wounds, inflammation due to trauma, and to treat deep burns as per a study published by Tashfeen Ahmad, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.

According to another research published in the Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, pineapple also has anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, and fibrinolytic effects making it super efficient in case of internal or external injuries.

Treats Arthritis

Pineapple has the ability to reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles, particularly those associated with arthritis. It contains a rare proteolytic enzyme called bromelain, which primarily aids in breaking down of complex proteins and has anti-inflammatory effects as well. According to a study conducted by Sarah Brien, University of South Hampton, South Hampton, UK, bromelain can also prevent the risk of osteoarthritis. Although bromelain supplements or pineapple enzymes are available over the counter, it’s best to take them under medical supervision.

Another study done in the University of Tasmania, Australia, claims the beneficial effect of bromelain on exercise-related injuries or muscle damage.

Health benefits of pineapple- Infographic

How to Pick?

The ripeness and freshness of pineapple can be determined by the smell of its base (no matter how green the crown is). Pick a pineapple, the base of which smells sweet, just like its juice. A fragrance-free pineapple is either harvested too early or is not as sweet as it should be.

Note: If you are planning to consume this fruit, cut the crown and keep the fruit in the fridge placing it upside down. Generally, the sweetness settles at the bottom of the fruit and this will help in distributing it throughout the pineapple. It’s best to have the slices when it’s fresh so as to get maximum nutrition from it.

Side Effects

The side effects of pineapple are mainly because of the high proportions of bromelain and vitamin C present in it. Also, raw (unripe) pineapple is very unhealthy for consumption and should be avoided. According to research, common side effects of eating it include:

  • Vomiting
  • Swelling of mouth and cheeks
  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Anaphylactic shock

Risks

  • Sensitivity: Because of bromelain your lips, gums, and tongue may experience some tenderness or sensitivity if you eat too much.
  • Canned Pineapples: Preservatives like sugar in canned pineapples are harmful to all, especially diabetics and those wanting to achieve weight loss goals.
  • Pregnancy: Bromelain has been known to stimulate menstruation, so pregnant women should avoid excessive intake of this fruit in order to prevent any chances of a miscarriage.
  • Interaction with medications: Individuals on medications like anticoagulants, blood thinners, insomnia drugs, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines.
  • Heart disorders: People on medication of beta-blockers should consume pineapple in moderation as it can add to the potassium levels in the blood and cause them to rise.
  • Kidney diseases: Potassium, in pineapples, is healthy in many ways but can lead to negative effects if the intake of the fruit is not limited.
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux diseases (GERD): People suffering from GERD may witness an increase in serious symptoms like heartburn and regurgitation if too much of it is eaten.
  • Pesticides: Often used to kill fungi and harmful organisms, pesticides can also affect your health if you purchase pineapples from an unreliable source.

Keeping the health concerns in mind, grab one of these spiky tropical fruits and dig in. Your body will thank you!

Quick Facts

  • The fruit is native to Paraguay and Brazil, and some parts of the Caribbean. The exact evolution of this fruit as a popular global fruit is still unknown; however, it is believed that pineapple was first brought to Europe following Christopher Columbus’s return in 1493.
  • Hawaii had the largest production of pineapples, but they are now cultivated in large quantities in Brazil, the Philippines, and Costa Rica.
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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