Pineapples are a great source of numerous nutrients, such as manganese, folate, vitamin C, and copper.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is one of the most popular tropical fruit in the world. This fruit is also the only source of bromelain, a potent plant compound. Bromelain is related to many health benefits, such as cancer prevention, enhanced immune function, better gut health, and improved wound healing 1 .
Today, you can find pineapple in almost every grocery store and in many homes around the world. In South and Central America, this fruit is not just valued for its sweet, juicy taste – it has been used for thousands of years to treat inflammation and digestive problems.
Consuming vegetables and fruits of all types has long been associated with a decreased risk of numerous lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have proven that increasing consumption of plant foods as pineapples reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and overall mortality, and promotes a healthy skin and hair, lower weight, and increased energy 2 3 . Due to their unique content of bromelain, pineapples have great health benefits, including:
Researchers have proven that type 1 diabetics who eat high-fiber diets have lower levels of blood glucose and type 2 diabetics might have improved lipids, insulin, and blood sugar levels 4 . Just one medium pineapple provides around 13 grams of fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 30-38 grams of fiber per day for men and 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women.
- Blood pressure
Pineapple is a great source of potassium. Increasing potassium intake by eating high potassium vegetables and fruits can help with lowering high blood pressure. In accordance with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, less than 2% of adults in the U.S. meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation of potassium 5 . Moreover, a high potassium intake is linked with a 20% reduced risk of dying from all causes.
- Age-related macular degeneration
Many experts have proven that a higher intake of fruits (3 or more servings a day) can decrease the risk of and progress of age-related macular degeneration. Pineapple is one of the best fruits, rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, which are crucial for vitality and well-being.
- Asthma prevention
The risk for developing asthma is lower in people who eat high amounts of certain nutrients. One of the most important nutrients is beta-carotene, found in pineapple, and some other plant foods like apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe, papaya, broccoli, carrots, and pumpkin.
Due to their great water and fiber content, pineapples can promote a healthy digestive tract and regularity, and help to prevent constipation.
- Healing and Inflammation
Many studies have proven that bromelain, the enzyme from the pineapples, could reduce bruising, swelling, healing time, and ache associated with surgical intervention and injuries 6 7 . Bromelain is now being used to treat and ease inflammation from strains, sprains, tendinitis, and some other minor muscle injuries as swelling related to throat, nose, and ear surgeries or even trauma.
It has been proven that antioxidant-rich diets can increase fertility 9 . Because free radicals can damage the reproductive system as well, foods with high antioxidant activities like pineapples that fight free radicals are recommended for people trying to conceive. Plus, the powerful antioxidants in pineapple such as beta-carotene, vitamins C, copper, folate, and zinc have possessions that affect both female and male fertility.
Vitamin C, when eaten in its ideal, natural form (like in a pineapple) or applied topically, could help to combat skin damage caused by the pollution and sun, reduce wrinkles and improve overall complexion 10 . This powerful antioxidant also plays an important role in the formation of collagen, the support system of the skin.
- Heart health
The vitamin C, potassium, and fiber content in pineapples all support heart health. A study has found that people who consumed 4068 mg of potassium a day had a 49,5 % lower risk of death from heart disease compared with people who consumed less potassium (around 1000 mg a day) 11 . High potassium consumptions are also associated with a protection against loss of muscle mass, reduced risk of stroke, reduction in the formation of kidney stones, and preservation of bone mineral density.
This fruit is also an excellent source of vitamin C and can help fight the formation of free radicals that cause cancer. according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition 7, diets rich in beta-carotene can also play a protective role against prostate cancer 12 . Plus, it has been found to have an inverse association with the progress of colon cancer 13 . High fiber intake from pineapple and papaya are associated with lowered risks of colorectal cancer.
Nutritional Breakdown of Pineapples
A cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains about 14 :
- 82 calories,
- 0 grams of cholesterol,
- 0 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein,
- 2 milligrams of sodium, and
- 21 grams of total carbohydrate (including 2.3 grams of fiber and 16 grams of sugar).
1 cup of fresh pineapple chunks provides about 132% of the vitamin C needs for the day, 2% of vitamin A requirement, 2% of iron and 2% of calcium.
Pineapple is also a great source of significant vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, folate, magnesium, potassium, and manganese and antioxidants and polyphenols, as beta-carotene.
Fresh pineapple is the ONLY source of a potent enzyme known as bromelain, which has been used in studies to determine its effectiveness in alleviating arthritis, joint pain, inhibit tumor growth, reduce inflammation, and shorten the time to recovery following plastic surgery.
The nutritional profile for canned pineapples is different from raw pineapples. Canned pineapple in light syrup has 31.88 grams of sugar and 131 calories per cup, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture 15 . It also contains fewer minerals and vitamins. If you like to consume canned pineapples, try to get them with no added sugar or simply look for a variety that is preserved in fruit juice rather than syrup.
In general, pineapple is a safe food that you can eat. However, beta-blockers, a form of medicine usually prescribed for heart disease, could cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. Therefore, high potassium foods need to be consumed in moderation when taking this medication.
Consuming too much potassium may be harmful to people whose kidneys aren’t fully functional. Moreover, if the kidneys are unable to eliminate excess potassium from the blood, it can be fatal.
Fresh pineapples are a unique source of bromelain. This fruit is also an amazing source of essential vitamins and minerals and can help prevent and treat numerous diseases. Pineapple is delicious when consumed fresh, but it can also be enjoyed as canned, dried, juice, or as an ingredient in many recipes. According to studies from the American Cancer Society, bromelain found in pineapple and some other such enzymes can be used with standard cancer treatment to help decrease certain side effects (such as throat and mouth inflammation due to radiation treatment) 16 .