Pineapple (ananas comosus) is one of the most popular tropical fruit in the world. The fruits are native to South America and now are grown worldwide in all tropical and subtropical countries.
Pineapples have a wide cylindrical shape with brown, yellow or green scaly skin and bunch of spiny blue-green leaves on top resembling a crown. The internal flesh is fibrous and has a sweet, juicy and tangy flavor that ranges in color from white to yellow.
Pineapples are delicious when consumed fresh, but they can also be enjoyed as juice, dried, canned, or as an ingredient in various recipes.
Like most fruits, pineapples are packed with vitamins and minerals that make it a highly acceptable addition to any diet. They are a good source of many nutrients, such as vitamin A & C, manganese, copper, potassium and folate.
Pineapples are also contain an enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme provides many of the health benefits of pineapple, and it is sometimes referred to as a “super enzyme” because of the many ways that it can improve human health. Now let’s take a look at the some health benefits of pineapples.
- Cancer prevention
Pineapple contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, that help to fight cancer. Specifically, it may work in unison with chemotherapy to suppress the growth of cancer cells. It also contains beta carotene, which can protect against prostate cancer and possibly colon cancer.
- Boosts immune system
Pineapple is an excellence source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient for protecting the body against free radical damage and boosts the immune system. Vitamin C also decreases the severity of colds and infections.
- Treats coughs
The combination of high levels of vitamin C with anti-inflammatory bromelain makes pineapples a particularly effective remedy for coughs, colds and other respiratory problems. To enjoy the most benefits of pineapple, eat a slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day.
- Strengthen the bones
Pineapple also support bone health as it contains manganese that is needed to build strong bones and connective tissues. One cup of pineapple provides nearly 75% of the daily recommended amount of manganese. A study suggested that manganese, along with other trace minerals, may be helpful in preventing osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.
- Aids in digestion
Like many other fruits, pineapple contains dietary fiber, which is essential in keeping your digestive system healthy. But unlike many other fruits, pineapple contains a digestive enzyme called bromelain, which is a mixture of proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes work together to help your digestive system break down and absorb proteins from the foods you eat. Additionally, bromelain in pineapple can help relieve symptoms of bowel conditions like ulcerative colitis, stomach ache, and diarrhea.
- Supports eye health
Pineapples contain a high dose of beta-carotene, a nutrient that plays a major role in keeping our eyesight healthy as well as protect us from age-related macular degeneration. According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, eating three servings of pineapple each day can lower the risk of developing macular degeneration by as much as 36 percent.
- Maintain oral health
Pineapples are good for your oral health as well. Recent studies have found that vitamin C can reduce the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Pineapple is high in vitamin C so eating pineapple can help to reduce your risk of both of these problems. Bromelain contained in pineapple will also remove stains from the teeth, which could keep your teeth strong and healthy.
- Reduce blood pressure
Pineapple juice can help reduce the blood pressure due to its high levels of potassium and low in sodium. Higher levels of potassium reduce the amount of salt in the body, which will help to lower blood pressure.
- Promote weight loss
As with many other fruits, pineapples can help to lose weight loss as they are low in calories and do not contain any artificial sugar and unhealthy fats. Pineapples or pineapple juice can be consumed throughout the day to keep you satisfied and full, thus it is good for people who want to maintain their weight or lose weight.
- Fights Arthritis and joint pain
Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain, drinking pineapple juice can help alleviate the signs of arthritis and other types of joint pain. Bromelain works on inflammation by blocking metabolites which cause swelling. It also acts to decrease swelling by activating a chemical in the blood that breaks down fibrin, thus leading to reduced swelling.
When selecting a pineapple, choose one that feels firm to the touch, vibrant color and has fresh-looking, green crown leaves. Avoid any pineapple that are brownish/orange, soft around the core. A ripe pineapple will have a fragrant scent. If you can not smell anything it probably still needs a bit of ripening. However, if it smells overripe or fermented then choose another pineapple.
While pineapples are clearly an extremely healthy food, they should be consumed in moderation. Excessive consumption of pineapple may cause swelling or tenderness on your lips or tongue. This is because bromelain also has meat-tenderizing properties. The condition should cease within a few hours, but if it doesn’t, or if you experience a rash, hives or breathing difficulties, then you should seek a medical help immediately. You might allergic to the fruit.
Additionally, extremely high amounts of bromelain can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual bleeding.
Eating unripe pineapple or drinking the juice of of an unripe pineapple can be extremely dangerous, according to a report by the Horticulture department at Purdue University. Unripe pineapples is toxic to humans and can lead to severe diarrhea and vomiting. Eating a great deal of pineapple cores can also cause fiber balls to form in the digestive tract.
Pregnant women and breast feeding are also advised not to eat pineapple as it is found to interact with some medications. Those taking antibiotics, anticoagulants, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, insomnia drugs and tricyclic antidepressants should be careful not to eat too much pineapple.
It is also believed to cause bleeding during and after surgery and hence should be avoided strictly in people who have undergone surgery.