Pineapple is a delicious fruit that is dense with nutrients. It is low in calories and is used globally as a cure for various health disorders including indigestion, infertility, allergies, immunity etc. Pineapple is among my favorite fruits because I love its sweet and sour taste, and it’s loaded with essential minerals and nutrients like dietary fiber and fatty acids. I am sure you have had pineapple some time or the other, but did you know about the various health benefits of pineapple? If you love eating pineapple and wondering about the health benefits of pineapple, then here’s the post worth checking. Today, in this post, I am sharing the top 13 surprising health benefits of pineapple and why it’s worth eating.
The flesh and juice of pineapple are, consumed worldwide. The flesh can be, eaten raw or can be cooked or baked. Cored slices of the fruit with a cherry in the middle, is used as a garnish over hams in the West. Whole chunks of pineapple are, used in fruit salads or as topping of pizzas and burgers. Nothing can be more refreshing than a glass of fresh pineapple juice. Fresh pineapple juice can be, drunk raw or it can be mixed with other drinks/juice as a key ingredient to make different types of cocktails.
Pineapple or Anansus comosus is a tropical fruit belonging to the Bromileaceae family. According to common belief, the pineapple plant is, said to be autochthonous to the region between Paraguay and South Brazil. This herbaceous perennial has a unique taste from sweet to tart. According to a survey of 2014, India is the 6th largest producer of pineapple, producing 1.7 million tones of pineapple. It was during the 17th century that the name pineapple evolved, owing to its similarity to pine cones. The trees bear fruits from March to June; a number of berries coalesce together to form a compact, multiple fruit.
Pineapple nutrients – the powerhouse of vitamins and minerals
A 100 grams serving of raw pineapple contains 44% of our daily value of manganese and 58% of the daily value of Vitamin C. It is a rich source of quite a lot of nutrients, like, Vitamin B6, Folate, Thiamine and minerals, like, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc etc. Pineapple is the numero uno source of Bromelain, a mix of proteolytic enzymes, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-swelling, anti-thrombotic, and anti-dematous properties. These mean that bromelain averts blood clots, swelling and edema. In the olden days, bromelain was, used as a meat tenderizer because of its ability to relax and soothe connective tissues and inflamed muscles. In this article, I will be talking about the nutrient present in pineapple and the benefits of the fruit.
Pineapple is very low in sodium, which is good for health. It is a good source of dietary fiber, Thiamine, Vitamin B6, and copper, and an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese.
Vitamin C enhances the activity of collagen, prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth. It also protects our skin against the harmful rays of the sun. Manganese helps support bone health and prevent osteoporosis, aids in regulating cognitive function, helps fight diabetes, helps with weight loss and maintains healthy levels of iron in the body, thereby averting anemia.
Vitamin B6 helps support brain functions, protects eye health, prevents kidney stones, helps treat asthma, regulate sleep cycles, reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, treats high blood pressure and uplifts your mood.
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine helps prevent cardiovascular diseases, boosts energy production, prevents cataracts, promotes proper digestion, ameliorate memory and protects against Alzheimer’s disease, enhances RBC production and improves appetite.
Benefits of copper would include, proper regulation of melanin production, proper growth and development of the body, proper absorption of iron and sugar, inhibiting growth of E. Coli, improved thyroid health and reduction of cholesterol levels in the body.
Last but not the least, dietary fibers helps in regulating proper digestion and bowel movement, controlling blood sugar levels, helps in achieving normal healthy weight and brings down cholesterol level in the body.
According to Self Nutrition Data, every 165 grams of pineapple contains the following nutrients:
- 1 mg of omega-3 fatty acids
- 38 mg of omega-6 fatty acids
- 3 g of dietary fiber (9% of DV)
- 3 g of sugar
- 5 calories (4% of DV)
- 6 g of carbohydrates (7% of DV)
- 9 mg of Vitamin C (131% of DV)
- 2 mg of Vitamin B6 (9% of DV)
- 1 mg of Thiamine (9% of DV)
- 7 mcg of Folate (7% of DV)
- 5 mg of Calcium (2% of DV)
- 180 mg of Potassium (5% of DV)
- 5 mg of Manganese (76% of DV)
- 2 mg of Copper (9% 0f DV)
- 7 mg of Sodium (0% of DV)
- 9 mg of Phytosterols
- 142 g Water
13 proven health benefits of Pineapple
Benefits of pineapple are owing to the high concentration of nutrients present in it. This refreshingly tasty fruit is not only useful for garnishing salads and flavoring cocktails but also has a neat effect on the human body. The phytonutrients of pineapple wards off the most common illnesses and diseases that affect the human body. The high fiber content, vitamins, calcium, potassium, manganese – all these makes pineapple a pretty powerful fruit. Pineapple is the only natural source of bromelain, which is a combination of proteolytic enzymes. Pineapple is very helpful in healing soft tissue wounds, relieves pain and protects against infection.
Listed below are the top 13 health benefits of pineapple which is proven by science.
Pineapple consists of a massive 131% of our daily value of the antioxidant and Vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin is evidently useful in boosting immunity and treating symptoms of the flu like cough and cold. Vitamin C is also, known for keeping the connective tissues of the body in optimum health. Ascorbic acid boosts the activity of white blood cells and reduces the onset of illnesses. Being an antioxidant, it reduces inflammation and fights against free radicals, which could mutate healthy normal cells to cancerous ones. Vitamin C synthesizes collagen, which is the principle protein responsible for sustaining organs and blood vessels. The Vitamin C in pineapple is also quite helpful in healing sunburn or skin irritation. (Source: NCBI)
Protects the Heart
Pineapple is able to support heart health owing to its Vitamin C, dietary fiber and potassium content. One of the key benefits of eating pineapple is that it protects the heart. If you consume potassium in favorable quantities, the risk of stroke is, significantly reduced. High potassium intake is also associated with preventing loss of muscle mass, preserving bone-mineral density and inhibiting formation of kidney stones. High potassium fruits are useful in reducing elevated levels of blood pressure. Pineapple treats the menacing inflammation and reinstates normal level of blood pressure. The bromelain present in pineapple fights off blood clots. It does not allow platelets to stick together or to coat the wall of the arteries and veins. Both of these are common causes of heart attack or stroke.
Supports Eye and Oral Health
According to a research, the betacarotene present in pineapple protects vision and pushes back the onset of age-related macular degeneration. Manganese, found in pineapple, prevents cell damage and is, also useful in averting age-related macular degeneration.
Pineapple has astringent properties that strengthen teeth and gums. Astringent agents aid in tightening up tissues and tone the body so that hair loss, teeth loss, muscle weakness and skin loosening do not happen too soon. Pineapple is a strong natural astringent that is, prescribed as a natural cure for loosening of teeth or retraction of gums.
Regulates Blood Pressure and Promotes Blood Circulation
Pineapple is rich in potassium that acts as a vasodilator. It relaxes the blood vessels and increases blood circulation to the different parts of the body. When the blood vessels ease, blood pressure is reduced and the blood flow is less restricted. This vasodilation activity, hence, prevents formation of blood clots and protects against accumulation of plaque in the arteries and veins. This in turn, protects our heart from atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
Pineapple is also a known provider of copper, which is an essential element associated varieties of enzymatic reactions in the body. The most noteworthy importance of copper is it being a necessary element in production of red blood cells (RBC.) High RBC count ensures proper oxygenation of all the organ systems. It also enhances cognitive abilities and can conserve neural pathways to avert neural diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Pineapples help in breaking down proteins into peptides and amino acids. It mitigates acid reflux, ulcerative colitis and other general digestive issues. Pineapple being rich in dietary fibers, helps in proper passage of fruit through the digestive tract at a normal rate and promotes secretion of digestive and gastric juices that to help the food digest and dissolve. Pineapple also helps reduce the autoimmune responses of frequent food allergies. Researches conducted in Japan reveal that consuming pineapple helped those who had celiac disease, owing to its bromelain content. Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. As per this research by NCBI, bromelain in pineapples decreases colonic inflammation and reduces secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that are detriment to the gut lining. Bromelain treats diseases of the gastrointestinal tract like, inflammatory bowel disease, infections, colon cancer, constipation Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, heartburn, ulcerative colitis and dyspepsia.
Helps with Infertility
Antioxidant rich foods help inhibit infertility. Free radicals are, known to cause harm to the reproductive system. Therefore, these antioxidant rich foods are, recommended if you are trying to conceive. The antioxidants in pineapple, like ascorbic acid, beta-carotene and the other nutrients that are present, including copper, affect both female and male fertility (Source 1, 2). Antioxidants increase blood flow and boosts proper tissue formation in the genitilia. Additionally, they help increase sperm count. Folate or folic acid present in pineapple is also helpful in boosting the fertility of both the sexes.
Promotes Bone Health
Although not a rich source of calcium, pineapple has ample quantities of manganese in it. Manganese is an essential trace element required for kosher growth, strengthening and development of bones. One serving of pineapple can provide you with 76% of your daily requirement of manganese.
Uplifts Your Mood
Pineapple helps uplift your mood and fight anxiety and depression. It is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is, utilized by our body in making serotonin. Hormone serotonin is one of the main hormones associated with us feeling happy. Consuming this amino acid along with Vitamin B is crucial to maintain your neurological system to for energy and for good mood hormones.
Brings down Inflammation
As per this report, long term dietary supplementation with fresh or unpasteurized frozen pineapple juice with active bromelain enzymes is safe and efficiently reduces inflammation severity of colitis.
There is another research done on patients of sinusitis, which is the inflammation of cavities around nasal passages. Sinusitis could be the result of an autoimmune disease, an infection or allergy. The study concluded that bromelain from pineapple lead to a notably faster recovery than standard treatment. (Source: 3)
Bromelain works on inflammation by inhibiting metabolites that causes swelling. Bromelain also activates a chemical present in the blood that disintegrates fibrin, hence leading to reduced inflammation. This proteolytic enzyme is, known to heal up wounds faster and speeds up healing after surgical procedures. Because of this ability, pineapple is very effective against joint pain and arthritis.
Keep asthma in check
The betacarotene present in pineapples helps keep asthma in check. Bromelain reduces allergic sensitization and inhibits development of other inflammatory responses affecting the air passageways in mice suffering from asthma. These reports suggest that this enzyme helps to regulate our immune system. Bromelain can help turn aside allergies by addressing the actual cause – an oversensitive and hyperactive immune system. It was perceived in the study that CD11c (+) dendritic cells and DC44 antigen-presenting cells were averted when supplementing with bromelain, a pointer that this enzyme is able to target the underlying cause of asthma and allergies. This is why, it is helpful to people suffering from symptoms of allergy like runny nose, congestion, itchy eyes, swollen lymph nodes.
Rich source of Dietary Fiber
Pineapple is a rich source of dietary fiber. Researchers believe that patients of type-II diabetes show signs of improvement in their blood glucose level, insulin level and lipid with regular intake of fiber. Fiber keeps away colorectal cancer. It will remove constipation and irritable bowel syndrome and promote smooth working of the digestive tract.
Cures Cough and Cold
Pineapple being rich in both Vitamin C and bromelain is useful against respiratory illnesses. Pineapple juice is a common natural lytic agent, which means, it helps thin out phlegm and mucus from the lungs to provide us relief. Traditionally, a pinch of salt and pepper with one-and –half teaspoon of honey in a glass of pineapple juice is used a natural cough remedy. Bromelain is a decongestant and is helpful against a runny nose or cough due to sinus problem or hay fever. (Source: 4) Bromelain boosts the effect of antibiotics, so be sure to consult your physician about drinking pineapple juice if you are already on antibiotics. Vitamin C boosts our immune system, so a glass of fresh pineapple juice is efficient to keep the cough and cold at bay.
Protects against Cancer
Pineapple has been, linked directly to protection against cancer of mouth, lung, breast and throat, as it is rich in different anti-oxidants like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, betacarotene, bromelain, flavonoid compounds and high level of manganese.
There was a study published in 2007 by researchers in the Plant Medicine Journal about bromelain being much more effective in treating cancer than the synthetic chemo-agents. It is shown in animal studies that bromelain can induce the production of certain cytokines, that it possesses anti-metastatic efficacy and the fact that it inhibits metastasis by lowering platelet aggregation. (Source: 5)
There is one study that suggests that bromelain affects malignant peritoneal mesothelioma – a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. According to the research, it was revealed that, “The addition of bromelain increased the die off of cancer cells (cytotoxicity) significantly. Bromelain has the potential of being developed as a therapeutic agent in treating malignant cancer.”
Pineapple is also a rich source of manganese. Manganese is a key co-factor in superoxide dismutase, an exceptionally strong free radical scavenger, which has been linked to a number of types of cancer.
Over to You
Pineapple is a nutrient dense fruit, which is considered to be good to protect the heart, eyes, bones, blood pressure, blood circulation and oral health. Researchers have proved that it can prevent cancer, keep digestive issues away, fights against asthma, infertility, cough, cold and inflammation. On top that, it tastes well, the sweet and sour taste of pineapple can be so refreshing with the early morning breakfast. Some of us find it hard to peel and slice the pineapple, but once you master the art of peeling it off, you are going to love this amazing fruit.
Although beneficial, pineapple has its side effects too. Eating too much pineapple may lead to sensitivity or tenderness in your lips, gums or cheeks as bromelain is primarily a meat-tenderizing enzyme. Overdose of pineapple may lead to diarrhea, skin rash, vomiting, nausea and headaches. Pregnant women would do good to avoid pineapple as it may lead to miscarriage because bromelain is known to induce menstruation. The advantages of pineapple outweigh the side effects. The enzyme bromelain gives pineapple the bulk of its benefits. It not only breaks down proteins but also stops lung metastasis.
If you are buying pineapples then make sure to not pick the bruised or sour smelling pineapples. Keep the fruit at room temperature for a day or two before cutting, as this tends to make the fruit softer and juicier.
Do you like eating pineapple? What are the common health benefits you think you knew about? Are you aware of any other measure health benefits of eating pineapple? Feel free to share with us by commenting below.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.