What is Pineapple?
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with edible fruit and the most economically significant plant in the family Bromeliaceae. The pineapple is indigenous to South America, where it has been cultivated for many centuries.
Christopher Columbus brought pineapples back to Europe after an expedition to South America. Pineapples became known as an extravagant and exotic fruit, served only at the most lavish of banquets.
However, pineapples are now common and available in any grocery store, and a staple in many homes around the world.
People are able to enjoy them in solid, dried, and juice forms.
In Central and South America, pineapple is not only valued for its sweet taste, it has been used for centuries to treat digestion problems and inflammation.
This article explores the health benefits and nutrition of pineapple, as well as providing ways to include it in the diet.
Nutrition Facts of Pineapple
One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains approximately
- 82 calories
- 0.2 grams (g) of fat
- 0 g of cholesterol
- 2 milligrams (mg) of sodium
- 21.65 g of total carbohydrate (including 16 grams of sugar and 2.3 grams of fiber)
- 0.89 g of protein
As a percentage of your daily requirements, the same amount of fresh pineapple chunks provides:
- 131 percent of vitamin C
- 2 percent of vitamin A
- 2 percent of calcium
- 3 percent of iron
Pineapple is also a source of important vitamins and minerals, including:
- vitamin B-6
- pantothenic acid
- beta-carotene and other antioxidants
Fresh pineapple is the only known source of an enzyme called bromelain, which might play a role in a range of different health benefits.
15 Health Benefits of Pineapple.
Eating fruits and vegetables of all types has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.
Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like pineapples decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease.
It also promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
The following are possible benefits of eating pineapple.
As mentioned above, pineapples are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese.
2. Age-related macular degeneration
3. Asthma prevention
The risks of developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients.
One of these nutrients is beta-carotene. It is found in orange, yellow, and dark green plant foods, such as pineapple, mangoes, papaya, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and carrots.
Some smaller studies have suggested bromelain can also contribute to reducing asthma symptoms.
4. May Ease Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis affects over 54 million adults in the US alone.
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.
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.
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 bromelain’s ability to treat osteoarthritis. It concluded that bromelain has the potential to relieve arthritis symptoms, especially in the short term.
However, it’s not clear if bromelain can be a long-term treatment for arthritis symptoms. Longer studies are needed before recommending bromelain to relieve arthritis symptoms.
5. Contains Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Not only are pineapples rich in nutrients, but they are also loaded with healthy 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.
Pineapples are especially rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids.
What’s more, many of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound. This allows the antioxidants to survive harsher conditions in the body and produce longer-lasting effects.
6. May Help With Lowering Blood pressure
Increasing potassium intake by consuming high potassium fruits and vegetables can help with lowering blood pressure. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of U.S. adults meet the daily 4,700-mg recommendation.
A high potassium intake is associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying from all causes.
7. May Help Reduce The Risk of Cancer
As an excellent source of vitamin C, a strong antioxidant, pineapples can help combat the formation of free radicals. These are linked to the development of cancer.
Older studies have shown beta-carotene to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in a Japanese population.
A 2004 case-control study linked beta-carotene to a protective effect on prostate cancer.
However, more recent studies have demonstrated that this may not be the case.
High fiber intake from all fruits and vegetables is associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
8. May Help In Regulating Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes
One medium pineapple provides about 13 g of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21 to 25 g per day for women and between 30 and 38 g per day for men.
Pineapples, because of their fiber and water content, help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.
Pineapples are also rich in bromelain, an enzyme that helps the body digest proteins. Bromelain also reduces inflammatory immune cells, called cytokines, that damage the digestive tract lining.
The inedible stems are the most concentrated source of bromelain, which can be extracted and is readily available in supplement form. You can purchase your Bromelain Supplements online by clicking here, please. Thank you so much.
Antioxidant-rich diets have been shown to improve fertility. Because free radicals can damage the reproductive system, foods with high antioxidant activity like pineapples are recommended for those trying to conceive.
The antioxidants in pineapple, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, and the vitamins and minerals copper, zinc, and folate have properties that affect both male and female fertility.
11. May Boost Immunity, Healing, and Suppress Inflammation
Some studies have shown that bromelain, primarily in the stem, can reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain associated with injury and surgical intervention.
Pineapples have been a part of traditional medicine for centuries.
They contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes like bromelain that may collectively boost immunity and suppress inflammation.
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.
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.
What’s more, studies have shown that bromelain can reduce markers of inflammation.
It’s believed that these anti-inflammatory properties aid the immune system.
12. It Promotes Heart Health
In one study, people who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium per day reduced the risk of death from ischemic heart disease 49 percent when compared with those who consumed less potassium.
Researchers link high potassium intakes to a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
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.
For example, one study showed that those who consumed bromelain before a 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.
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 (35Trusted 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.
Several other studies have shown that bromelain can speed up recovery from damage caused by exercise
14. It Can Help Fight Skin Damage
The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture.
15. It Is Available, Affordable and Accessible All Year Round and Easy to Add to the Diet
Pineapples are sweet, convenient, and easy to incorporate into your diet.
They are very affordable and available year-round in many American markets, as they can be purchased fresh, canned or frozen.
You can enjoy them on their own or in smoothies, salads, or homemade pizzas.
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. Compliment the pineapple with walnuts or pecans, a crumbled cheese, and light balsamic or citrus vinaigrette dressing.
- Lunch: Homemade Hawaiian burgers (beef burgers with a pineapple ring)
- Dinner: Baked ham with pineapple and cherries
- Dessert: Pineapple fruit salad with strawberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and grapes. Top with unsweetened shredded coconut for a fresh twist.
- Add pineapple to your favorite kebabs. Try shrimp, chicken, or steak kebabs with red onions, pineapple, and cherry tomatoes.
- Make your own juice. Nothing tastes better than fresh fruit juice in the morning. When you make your own, you can be sure there are no added preservatives or sweeteners.
- Make a fresh salsa with pineapple, mango, jalapeño, red peppers, and chipotle pepper, and use it as a topper for your favorite fish tacos.
Pineapples are delicious, low in calories, and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
Pineapples are also incredibly versatile and can be consumed in a variety of ways. To experience their health benefits, try incorporating pineapples into your diet.
A minimum of 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day is recommended for overall health.
Experts encourage more vegetables than fruits for weight management so this leaves room for about 2 servings a day of fruit.
In order to obtain the nutritional benefits from a varied diet, eat no more than one serving or one cup of pineapple a day.
That being said, if reaching for more pineapple means you are avoiding less healthy snacks, such as processed sweets or junk food, then, by all means, eat more pineapple!
Please let us know in the comments below.
- Do you eat pineapple? If so, what is your favorite recipe?
- Do you eat pineapple as an organic remedy for certain illnesses?
- How often do you eat pineapple and do you require to have it in your daily meals. If so, why?
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