17 Nutritional Benefits of Pineapples

by John Staughton last updated -

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Pineapples are delicious tropical fruits, which have been celebrated for centuries, not only for their unique taste but also for their miraculous health benefits.

Eat a cup of pineapple chunks to reap its 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 actually a composite fruit made of coalesced berries that grow at the crown of a fruiting tree.

The name pineapple evolved in the 17th century due to its structure and appearance being similar to pine cones.

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

Pineapples are a storehouse of several health benefits due to their nutrients. They contain bromelain, protein, carbohydrates, sugar, and soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.

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. 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.

Boosts Immunity

Pineapple is rich in vitamin C, which makes it a good source of ascorbic acid, according to a study published in Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University.

Pineapples boosts immune system

Vitamin C helps in reducing illnesses and boosting the immune system by stimulating the activity of the white blood cells in the body. It also acts as an antioxidant to defend against the harmful effects of free radicals.

Improves Bone Health

Pineapple contains an impressive amount of manganese. Manganese is a trace mineral essential for the strengthening of bones as well as their growth and repair. It also helps with the creation and activation of certain enzymes in the body, according to a report published in the International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

A single serving of this tropical fruit can provide you with more than 70% of your daily requirement of this mineral.

Improves Vision

As per a research published on the Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the United States, it affects many elderly people. The presence of beta-carotene in pineapple can help prevent this vision problem. It has the ability to improve eye health and prevent other age-related eye diseases.

Aids in Digestion

According to a research conducted by Roxas M., eating fresh pineapple in all forms regularly can protect you from many health conditions, including constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), atherosclerosis, and blood clotting as well as high blood pressure.

According to Mayo Clinic, dried unsweetened pineapple, being rich in fiber, promotes the passage of food through the digestive tract at a normal rate and stimulates the release of gastric and digestive juices to help dissolve food.

It also bulks up the loose stool, which helps in treating diarrhea and IBS. Furthermore, the bromelain in pineapple stimulates digestion, reduces gut inflammation, and therefore, treats digestive issues.

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.

Researchers from the Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples, Italy found that bromelain in pineapple stems had a colorectal cancer prevention effect

Manganese in pineapple is an important cofactor of superoxide dismutase, an extremely potent free radical scavenger associated with the prevention of different cancers.

Reduces Inflammation

High vitamin C content in pineapple helps you heal wounds and injuries quickly. According to a research published in the University of Cambridge by M.J. Barnes, it also plays an essential role in creating collagen.

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 pineapple is used in Europe to heal surgical wounds, inflammation due to trauma, and to treat deep burns.

Treats Arthritis

Pineapple has an 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.

Bromelain supplements or pineapple enzymes are available over the counter, but it’s best to take it under medical supervision.

Prevents Blood Clotting

The vasodilating properties of potassium in pineapple can prevent clots from blocking the flow of blood and reduce the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and vessels.

This helps prevent conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. So, eat pineapples for a healthy heart!

Improves Blood Circulation

Along with the vasodilating potential of potassium, pineapple also provides the body with copper, another essential mineral that functions in a number of enzymatic reactions and compounds in the body.

Most notably, copper is a necessary element for the formation of healthy red blood cells. High red blood cell count increases oxygenation to various organs and makes them function at optimal levels.

It also increases cognitive abilities and maintains neural pathways to prevent disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Treats Cough and Cold

Pineapple 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.

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 pineapple showed a lower risk of viral infections and children who the most 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.

Health Benefits of Pineapples

Relieves Asthma

Pineapple aids in reducing the symptoms of asthma. It contains essential nutrients like vitamin C, bromelain, and beta-carotene, which help reduce inflammation often faced by asthmatics.

Controls Diabetes

Pineapple, being rich in fiber, is a great food for diabetics. For those with type 1 diabetes, it aids in lowering the high blood glucose levels. And in individuals with type 2 diabetes, it results in improved blood sugar, insulin, and lipid levels. However, there is a certain amount of sugar present, so do limit your intake to avoid adverse effects.

Increases Fertility

Pineapples have been connected to improved fertility because of their antioxidant properties. These crowned fruits exercise their free radical scavenging action and help women in conceiving. The vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, beta-carotene, copper, zinc, and folate, all play an essential part in improving female as well as male fertility.

Skin Care

Vitamin C, present in pineapple, is a super antioxidant that tones your skin. It also helps clear acne, fight skin damage, and delay aging by reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Moreover, collagen formation is largely credited to vitamin C, which indirectly keeps the skin tissues healthy.

Improves Oral Health

Along with the antioxidants that protect against oral cancer, pineapple also has astringent properties, which strengthen gums and teeth. Pineapple is a very powerful astringent and is often prescribed as a natural remedy to fix the loosening of teeth or the retraction of gums.

Astringent agents help tighten up tissues and tone the body so that tooth loss, hair loss, muscle weakness, and skin loosening do not occur.

Regulates Blood Pressure

Pineapple is a valuable source of potassium. The vasodilating action of potassium eases tension and stress in the blood vessels and increases blood circulation to various parts of the body. When your blood vessels relax, the blood pressure is reduced and the flow of blood is less restricted. Therefore, your chances of suffering from hypertension are reduced.

Dissolves Kidney Stones

By regulating digestion and reducing blood clotting, pineapples help in dissolving kidney stones. Eat the bromelain-rich fruit or drink its juice to keep the kidneys stones away!

How to Pick a Pineapple?

The ripeness and freshness of a 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 pineapple juice. A fragrance-free pineapple is either harvested too early or is not sweet as it should be.

Note: If you are planning to consume a pineapple, 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 pineapple slices when it’s fresh so as to get maximum nutrition from it.

Side Effects of Pineapple

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. Common side effects of eating pineapple include:

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

Risks

  • Sensitivity: Because of bromelain your lips, gums, and tongue may experience some tenderness or sensitivity if you eat too much pineapple.
  • 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 pineapple 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 pineapple is eaten.

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

History

Hawaii had the largest production of pineapples, but they are now cultivated in large quantities in Brazil, the Philippines, and Costa Rica. That being said, the fruit is native to Paraguay and Brazil, and some parts of the Caribbean. The exact evolution of pineapple 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.

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