Pineapple or Ananas comosus is a delicious tropical fruit. Originated in South America, it belongs to the Bromeliaceae family.
This popular fruit is covered with thorny spikes and topped with waxy, hard leaves. It has a combination of sweet and sour taste.
The name pineapple was given in the 17th century by the European explorers due to its resemblance to a pinecone.
Pineapple is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and some helpful enzymes. It is considered as the third most important tropical fruit in the world after banana and citrus.
The healthy components found in pineapple possess numerous health benefits such as aiding in digestion, boosting immunity, promoting weight loss, and curing coughs, among others.
Continue reading to learn about the health benefits, and uses of pineapple.
Health Benefits of Pineapple
1. Pineapple is Rich in Nutrients.
Pineapple has low calorie but an impressive nutrient profile.
100 grams of pineapple chunks contain the following:
- Energy: 50 kcal
- Fat: 0.12 gram
- Protein: 0.54 gram
- Carbs: 13.12 gram
- Fiber: 1.4 gram
- Vitamin C: 47.8 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.11 mg
- Thiamin: 0.08 mg
- Folate: 18 µg
- Potassium: 109 mg
- Magnesium: 12 mg
- Niacin: 0.5 mg
- Riboflavin:0.03 mg
- Iron: 0.29 mg
Pineapple also has a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese.
Manganese is rich in antioxidants and helps maintain a healthy metabolism.
2. It May Reduce Oxidative Stress.
Pineapple is rich in antioxidants. It can fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
A study published in 2014 shows that flavonoids found in pineapple can fight the oxidative stress in the body.
Another study published in the Food Research International reports that the antioxidant activity of pineapple is due to its phenolic content.
3. Pineapple Can Aid in Digestion.
Regular consumption of pineapple can improve your digestive system and help treat constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
A literature review published in the Alternative Medicine Review A Journal of Clinical Therapeutic states that bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple can aid in proper digestion.
Bromelain can also help to bulk up the stool and prevent constipation.
4. It May Boost Immune System.
Pineapple can help reduce illness and boost your immunity, thanks to vitamin C.
A study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It shows that vitamin C can stimulate the activity of white blood cells in the body, improving its immune system.
Another research was conducted on 98 children who ate either no pineapple, a few pineapples (140 g), and a lot of pineapples (280 g) for nine weeks.
Those who consumed pineapples showed a reduced risk of both bacterial and viral infections. Besides, children who ate the most pineapples developed around four times more white blood cells compared to other groups.
5. Pineapple Can Prevent Cancer.
Pineapple may help prevent cancers of the mouth, throat, and breast. It’s because the fruit contains antioxidants and other nutrients such as vitamin A, beta-carotene, flavonoids, manganese, and bromelain.
Research published in the Biotechnology Research International reports that bromelain can promote apoptotic cell death as it contains anti-cancer properties.
Another research was published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. It suggests that bromelain may help treat colorectal cancer.
This enzyme can exert pro-apoptotic and antiproliferative effects in colorectal carcinoma cells.
The study also shows the chemopreventive actions of bromelain in colon cancer.
6. It May Reduce Inflammation.
The bromelain and high vitamin C content in pineapple help reduce inflammation due to wounds, burns, and trauma.
According to the research published 2016, bromelain has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-cancer, fibrinolytic, and antithrombotic effects that work on both internal and external injuries.
Another research published in the Journal of The Pakistan Medical Association shows that bromelain extracted from pineapple is used in Europe to soothe inflammation due to trauma and surgery.
7. Pineapple Can Soothe Arthritis Pain.
Over 54 million adults in the USA have arthritis.
It comes in more than 100 types. But most of them involve chronic inflammation in one or two joints.
Bromelain in pineapples has anti-inflammatory effects. It may reduce inflammation due to arthritis.
Research published in 2004 shows bromelain may show anti-inflammatory activities on chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis.
But, the efficacy of bromelain in the long-term treatment of arthritis is still not clear. More studies are required to establish its effectiveness as a recommended treatment for arthritis.
Side Effects & Precautions
Although pineapple is quite healthy and delicious, it may have some adverse effects on your body.
It’s recommended to consume pineapple when it is fully ripened. Otherwise, it may cause allergy or diarrhea.
According to a study published in the Tropical and Geographical Medicine, common side effects of pineapple are nausea, vomiting, rashes, diarrhea, anaphylactic shock, and headaches.
Besides, you need to follow some precautions while consuming pineapple, including:
- Avoid consuming canned pineapples as they might have harmful preservatives.
- Bromelain in pineapple can stimulate menstruation. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid eating pineapple as it may lead to miscarriage.
- If you’re on medications like blood thinners, antidepressants, sleeping pills, and anticoagulants, you need to avoid pineapple or food made of this fruit.
- Pineapple can increase the potassium levels on your blood. So, if you’re on medication of beta-blockers, you must eat this fruit moderately.
- The potassium in pineapple may have adverse effects on those with kidney problems. If you have any kidney disease, ask your doctor if you can consume pineapples.
- You may suffer from heartburn after eating pineapple if you have Gastro-esophageal reflux diseases (GERD).
Pineapple is a delicious fruit, rich in nutrients and antioxidants. This fruit is quite versatile, meaning that you can consume it in different ways.
You can have pineapple slices, drink it as a juice, or prepare delicious dishes using this tropical fruit.
However, always choose the pineapple that is fully ripened with a sweet base.
Considering its numerous health benefits, you may want to add this delicious fruit in your daily diet.