Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is one of the most popular tropical fruits in the world. It is native to South America, but is now grown worldwide in the tropics and subtropics.
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.
Pineapple Nutrition Facts
Pineapple is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, and manganese. It is also a good source of thiamin, vitamin B6, copper, and potassium.
In addition, pineapple contains a powerful enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent, pain reliever, and cancer inhibitor.
The following is the nutrition facts for one cup (165g) of fresh pineapple chunks :
- Calories: 82.5
- Carbohydrate: 21.6 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Fat: 0.2 g
- Dietary fiber: 1.4 g
- Sugars: 16.3 g
- Sodium: 1.65 mg
- Vitamin A: 95.7 IU
- Vitamin C: 78.9 mg
- Manganese: 1.53 mg
- Potassium: 180 mg
Health Benefits of Pineapple
1. Fights cancer
Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that has the potential to improve cancer treatment options. Specifically, it may work in unison with chemotherapy to suppress the growth of cancer cells .
2. Boosts immune system
Pineapple is an excellence source of vitamin C, which is necessary for a healthy immune system. It boosts our immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells that ward off infection.
A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that children who consumed canned pineapple had fewer viral and bacterial infections compared to children who did not consume it over the nine-week study period. The researchers concluded that eating one to two cans (140 to 280 grams) of pineapple daily may reduce the likelihood of an infection or at least shorten its duration .
3. Reduce inflammation
Eating pineapple may help reduce inflammation due to its bromelain content. Some research suggests that this compound may be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — but with fewer side effects .
In Europe, bromelain is approved for use to reduce inflammation caused by trauma or surgery, as well as to treat surgical wounds or deep burns.
In addition, there’s evidence that ingesting bromelain before surgery may help reduce the level of inflammation and pain caused by surgery.
4. Treat respiratory problems
Pineapple has strong anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially help treat respiratory problems, including asthma and allergies. The vitamin C in pineapple is also known to relieve colds, coughs, and flu symptoms.
One traditional cough remedy is to blend pineapple juice with honey, ginger, salt, and cayenne pepper.
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 3-inch ginger root
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and drink a quarter-cup three times per day.
5. Reduces blood pressure
If you are suffering from hypertension, consider including pineapple into your diet. Pineapple is low in sodium and high in potassium. Higher amounts of potassium can help to remove sodium from the blood and relax the blood vessels. When your blood vessels relax, your blood pressure is lowered and blood flow improved.
6. Supports eye health
Pineapple is packed with beta-carotene and vitamin A, which are very beneficial for your eyesight. Beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A and can be converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye (cornea) and maintain night vision.
The vitamin C found in pineapple also helps protect your eyesight. A recent study has shown that a higher intake of vitamin C reduces the risk of developing cataracts, which is cloudiness of the lens that can lead to serious vision problems .
7. Maintains skin health
Since pineapple contains vitamin C, it is also good for your skin. This antioxidant can help reduce wrinkles, improve skin texture, and minimize skin damage from sun and pollution exposure.
The bromelain present in pineapple may also help to prevent skin inflammation and acne. Drink a glass of pineapple juice every day to keep your skin clear and radiant.
8. Strengthens the bones
Pineapple may help support bone health as it contains high amount of manganese, a mineral that is essential for maintaining strong bones and connective tissues. A one-cup serving of pineapple provides 76% of the recommended daily intake of manganese.
9. Promotes digestion
Like many other fruits and vegetables, pineapple contains dietary fiber, which is essential in your keeping your digestive system healthy.
But unlike many other fruits and veggies, pineapple contains significant amounts of bromelain, a digestive enzyme that breaks down protein, which may help with digestion.
10. Helps in weight loss
Pineapples are low in calories and rich in fiber content that helps to keep you full and reduce cravings, and thereby help in weight loss. Pineapples also contain bromelain that helps to metabolize protein and, in turn, burns away excess belly fat.
Although pineapples are good for you, so are other fruits, they should be consumed in moderation because excessive consumption of pineapples may cause nausea, diarrhea and menstrual bleeding.
Some people may experience tenderness in the mouth, lips, or tongue after consuming pineapple juice due to the presence of bromelain. Exposure to extremely high amounts of bromelain can cause rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Bromelain can also interfere with certain medications, including antibiotics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and blood thinners. If you are taking any of these medications, talk with your doctor before starting consuming this fruit.
According to a report by the horticulture department at Purdue University, eating unripe pineapple or drinking unripe pineapple juice may be harmful. In the unripe stage, it can contain toxins that cause irritation to the throat and, in some cases, it can even lead to severe diarrhea and vomiting.
Selection and Storage
Pineapples don’t ripen after they’re picked so be sure to look for pineapples that has a golden-yellow skin, rather than green, with fresh-looking leaves on top. A fully ripe pineapple will have a sweet and fragrant scent. Avoid those that are brownish/orange, soft around the core or smell fermented, alcohol or vinegar-like.
Fresh pineapple can be stored in the refrigerator up to five days. For longer storage, the fruit may be frozen; just remove the rind and core, cut the fruit into chunks and store them in a tightly sealed container. Frozen pineapple can last up to 6 months when stored properly.