In general, Pineapple nutrients and compounds have been linked to various impressive health benefits. Including improved digestion, a lower risk of cancer, improved immunity, and relief of arthritis symptoms. As well as improved recovery after surgery and strenuous exercise.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is an incredibly delicious and healthy tropical fruit. It originated in South America, where early European explorers named it after its resemblance to a pinecone.
Pineapples are sweet, convenient and easy to incorporate into your diet. They are very affordable and available year-round in many markets, as they can be purchased fresh, canned or frozen.
What is Pineapple?
What makes Pineapple so Healthy?
Especially, being among the tropical fruits, pineapple is a nutrition superstar. One cup (237 ml) of pineapple provides 131% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C.
And also, 76% of the RDI for manganese. Pineapple is also low in calories but has an incredibly impressive nutrient profile.
One cup (5.8 ounces or 165 grams) of pineapple chunks contains;
- Calories: 82.5
- Fat: 1.7 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 21.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.3 grams
- Vitamin C: 131% of the RDI
- Manganese: 76% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDI
- Copper: 9% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 9% of the RDI
- Folate: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 5% of the RDI
- Niacin: 4% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 4% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 3% of the RDI
- Iron: 3% of the RDI
Pineapples also contain trace amounts of vitamins A and K, phosphorus, zinc and calcium.
What is the recommended dosage?
Two slices of pineapple contain approximately 100 mg of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The usual dosage of bromelain is 40 mg taken 3 or 4 times daily.
Pineapple products are available commercially in liquid, tablet, and capsule dose forms. Most products contain bromelain 500 mg; manufacturers suggest a dose of 500 to 1,000 mg daily.
What are the Benefits of Pineapple?
They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese, providing 131% and 76% of the daily recommendations, respectively. Vitamin C is essential for growth and development, a healthy immune system and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet.
People use Bromelain in Pineapples for medicine in reducing swelling (inflammation). Especially of the nose and sinuses, after surgery or injury. Also, Bromelain used in this way seems to reduce pain and improve knee function in people with arthritis.
Meanwhile, manganese is a naturally occurring mineral that aids growth, maintains healthy metabolism and has antioxidant properties.
It aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones. In fact, it plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
Here are additional benefits of pineapple;
1. Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Several studies have shown that pineapple and its compounds may reduce the risk of cancers. This is because they may minimize oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Test-tube studies have shown that bromelain may also help fight cancer (15 Trusted Source, 16 Trusted Source). For instance, two test-tube studies showed that bromelain suppressed the growth of breast cancer cells and stimulated cell death (17 Trusted Source, 18 Trusted Source).
Other test-tube studies show that bromelain suppresses cancer in the skin, bile duct, gastric system, and colon, among other areas (19 Trusted Source, 20 Trusted Source, 21 Trusted Source, 22 Trusted Source).
Test-tube and animal studies have found that bromelain may stimulate the immune system to produce molecules that make white blood cells more effective in suppressing cancer cell growth and eliminating cancer cells (16 Trusted Source).
2. Ease Digestion
Pineapples contain a group of digestive enzymes known as bromelain (10Trusted Source). They function as proteases, which break down protein molecules into their building blocks, such as amino acids and small peptides (11Trusted Source).
Once protein molecules are broken down, they are more easily absorbed across the small intestine. This can be especially helpful for people with pancreatic insufficiency, a condition in which the pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
For example, one study showed that participants with pancreatic insufficiency experienced better digestion after taking a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain, compared to taking the same digestive enzyme supplement without bromelain (14Trusted Source).
Bromelain is also widely used as a commercial meat tenderizer due to its ability to break down tough meat proteins (13Trusted Source).
3. Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that help your body combat oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a state in which there are too many free radicals in the body. These free radicals interact with the body’s cells and cause damage that is linked to chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system and many harmful diseases (5 Trusted Source, 6 Trusted Source).
Pineapples are especially rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids (7 Trusted Source). What’s more, the antioxidants survive harsher conditions in the body and produce longer-lasting effects (8 Trusted Source).
4. Boost Immunity and Suppress Inflammation
Pineapples have been a part of traditional medicine for centuries (13Trusted Source). They contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes like bromelain that may collectively boost immunity and suppress inflammation (23).
One nine-week study fed 98 healthy children either no pineapple, some pineapple (140g) or lots of pineapples (280g) daily to see if it boosted their immunity. Children who ate pineapples had a significantly lower risk of both viral and bacterial infections.
Also, children who ate the most pineapple had close to four times more disease-fighting white blood cells (granulocytes) than the other two groups (24Trusted Source). Another study found that children with a sinus infection recovered significantly faster while taking a bromelain supplement, compared to a standard treatment or combination of the two (25).
What’s more, studies have shown that bromelain can reduce markers of inflammation (26 Trusted Source, 27 Trusted Source, 28 Trusted Source).
5. Ease Symptoms of Arthritis
There are many types of arthritis, but most of them involve inflammation in the joints. Since pineapples contain bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties, it’s commonly thought that they may provide pain relief for those with inflammatory arthritis (30 Trusted Source).
In fact, research from as early as the 1960s shows that bromelain was used to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a type of arthritis that involves inflammation of the joints (31 Trusted Source).
Several recent studies have looked into the effectiveness of bromelain for treating arthritis. One study in patients with osteoarthritis found that taking a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain helped relieve pain as effectively as common arthritis medicines like diclofenac.
Furthermore, one review analyzed the bromelain ability to treat osteoarthritis. It concluded that bromelain has the potential to relieve arthritis symptoms, especially in the short term (30 Trusted Source). However, it’s not clear if bromelain can be a long-term treatment for arthritis symptoms.
6. Speedy Recovery After Surgery or Strenuous Exercise
Eating pineapples may reduce the time it takes to recover from surgery or exercise. This is largely due to the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain.
Several studies have shown that bromelain may reduce the inflammation, swelling, bruising and pain that often occurs after surgery. It also seems to reduce markers of inflammation (33 Trusted Source).
For example, one study showed that those who consumed bromelain before dental surgery had significantly reduced pain and felt happier than people who did not. In fact, it appeared to provide a similar amount of relief as common anti-inflammatory medicines (34 Trusted Source).
Strenuous exercise can also damage muscle tissue and cause surrounding inflammation. Affected muscles cannot produce as much force and are sore for up to three days. Proteases like bromelain are believed to speed up the recovery of damage caused by strenuous exercise by reducing inflammation around the damaged muscle tissue (35 Trusted Source).
One study tested this theory by providing participants a digestive enzyme supplement that contained bromelain after 45 minutes of strenuous exercise on the treadmill. Those who took the supplement had less inflammation and maintained more strength afterward (35 Trusted Source).
Several other studies have shown that bromelain can speed up recovery from damage caused by exercise (36 Trusted Source, 37 Trusted Source).
Does Pineapple have any Risks?
The juice from unripe pineapples can cause severe vomiting. Bromelain ingestion is associated with a low incidence of adverse reactions. Including diarrhea, excess menstrual flow, nausea, skin rash, and vomiting. The swelling of the mouth and cheeks can result from eating large amounts of the fruit.
Hypersensitivity to any of the components in pineapple. Cross-reaction with honeybee venom, olive tree pollen, celery, cypress pollen, bromelain, and papain have been reported. Potentiation of amoxicillin and tetracycline because of an increased volume of distribution by bromelain has been documented.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Today, the bulk of the world’s pineapple crop comes from Thailand, the Philippines, and Brazil. Traditional uses include the brewing of pineapple wine, production of fiber, and medicinal use to induce menstruation, induce abortion, kill parasitic amoebas, and expel worms.
You can enjoy pineapple on its own or in smoothies, salads or on homemade pizzas. Not to mention, they are also incredibly versatile and can be consumed in a variety of ways. To experience their health benefits, try incorporating pineapples into your diet.
Here are a few easy recipe ideas that use fresh pineapple:
- Breakfast: Pineapple, blueberry, and Greek yogurt smoothie
- Salad: Tropical roast chicken, almond, blueberry, and pineapple salad
- Lunch: Homemade Hawaiian burgers (beef burgers with a pineapple ring)
- Dinner: Baked ham with pineapple and cherries
- Dessert: Pineapple fruit salad
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