Pineapple: Health Benefits, Nutritional Value & Ways To Eat

Pineapple: Health Benefits, Nutritional Value & Ways To Eat

Pineapple is a tropical fruit loaded with enzymes, antioxidants and vitamins. This fruit is a member of the Bromeliaceae family and it originated in South America, where European explorers named it pineapple as it almost resembles a pinecone.

The fruit has beneficial compounds like bromelain and other nutrients which give the fruit its health benefits. The pineapple is called by many names in each state of India and is a widely-eaten fruit during the summers.

Nutritional Value Of Pineapple

100 grams of pineapple contain 50 calories and 86.00 grams of water. It also contains:

  • 0.12 grams total lipid (fat)
  • 13.12 grams carbohydrates
  • 1.4 grams total dietary fibre
  • 9.85 grams sugar
  • 0.54 grams protein
  • 13 milligrams calcium
  • 0.29 milligrams iron
  • 12 milligrams magnesium
  • 8 milligrams phosphorous
  • 109 milligrams potassium
  • 1 milligram sodium
  • 0.12 milligrams zinc
  • 47.8 milligrams vitamin C
  • 0.079 milligrams thiamin
  • 0.032 milligrams riboflavin
  • 0.500 milligrams niacin
  • 0.112 milligrams vitamin B6
  • 18 µg folate
  • 58 IU vitamin A
  • 0.02 milligrams vitamin E
  • 0.7 µg vitamin K

Health Benefits Of Pineapple

1. Supports the immune system

Pineapple contains a good amount of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that is known to boost your immune system. The presence of enzymes like bromelain is known to strengthen immunity warding off common cold and infections. A study showed the effectiveness of canned pineapples on school children and how it helped them develop immunity to few bacterial and viral infections.

2. Eases digestion

Pineapple contains dietary fibre which eases digestion and other stomach-related problems. According to the American Cancer Society, the enzyme bromelain helps to break down protein which aids in the digestion process. Bromelain works by breaking down protein molecules into their building blocks, like small peptides and amino acids.

3. Strengthens bones

Pineapples contain significant amounts of calcium and trace amounts of manganese, both of these minerals are essential for maintaining strong bones and healthy connective tissues, according to the National Institute Of Health. Calcium prevents osteoporosis and reduces the symptoms by improving overall bone and mineral density. Eating pineapples daily will reduce bone loss by 30 to 50 per cent.

4. Combats cancer

Numerous studies have found that the beneficial compounds in pineapples reduce the risk of cancers. One of these compounds is bromelain which is known to fight cancer, especially breast cancer and triggers cell death. Bromelain also suppresses skin, ovarian and colon cancer cells by making the white blood cells more effective in inhibiting cancer cell growth.

5. Promotes weight loss

The juice of the pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which metabolises protein, which in turn burns the excess belly fat. The higher the metabolism, the higher the rate of fat burnt. Being a low-calorie fruit, it is perfect for people who are trying to lose weight. Also, the presence of dietary fibre and water in pineapples fill your stomach up for a longer period of time, making you crave less for food.

6. Treats arthritis

The anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple come from the enzyme bromelain which is believed to relieve pain in arthritic people. A study showed the effectiveness of bromelain in treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Another study showed that the enzyme can treat osteoarthritis too as it can bring instant relief from pain which acts similar to common arthritis medicines like diclofenac.

7. Improves eye health

The presence of antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene in pineapples can help lower the risk of macular degeneration. It is a disease that affects the eyes as people age. According to a study, vitamin C can reduce the risk of cataract formation by one third. The fluid in the eye is high in vitamin C and to help to maintain the eye fluid and protect it from cataracts, consume vitamin C rich fruits including pineapple.

8. Keeps gums and teeth healthy

Pineapple can keep your dental caries away because they contain the enzyme bromelain which breakdown plaque. Plaque is a mass of bacteria that accumulates on your teeth and produce acids that erode the teeth enamel which leads to dental caries. Moreover, bromelain acts as a natural teeth stain remover and keeps it white.

9. Relieves bronchitis

Bromelain has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can aid with respiratory problems that are associated with bronchitis and asthma. This enzyme is thought to have mucolytic properties that help in breaking down and expelling mucus. It can also help reduce the symptoms of bronchial asthma.

10. Promotes heart health

The presence of vitamin C and other antioxidant vitamins in pineapples help prevent heart disease and lowers cholesterol in the body. According to a study done in Finland and China, pineapple can decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, this fruit can prevent high blood pressure as they have a high amount of potassium which helps relax the blood vessels and let you maintain healthy blood pressure.

11. Keeps skin healthy

Vitamin C and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative damage caused by the sun and other pollutants. Oxidative damage causes the skin to wrinkle and makes the ageing process faster. So, in order to keep your skin wrinkle-free and delay ageing, consume pineapples.

12. Faster recovery from surgery

If you want to recover faster from surgery, eating pineapples will work as they possess anti-inflammatory properties. A study found that bromelain reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain that often occurs after surgery. Another study also showed that bromelain works best before a dental surgery as it significantly reduces pain.

Ways To Add Pineapple In Your Diet

  1. Add pineapple chunks in your vegetable salad for some added sweetness topped with cheese and walnuts.

  2. Make a fruit smoothie with pineapple, berries and Greek yogurt.

  3. Use pineapple juice as a marinade to your shrimp, chicken or steak kebabs. 

  4. Make a salsa with mango, pineapple, and red peppers.

  5. You can also make yourself a delicious pineapple raita.

Precautions To Take

The enzyme bromelain in pineapples can sometimes irritate your mouth, lips or tongue. Also eating excess of it can cause vomiting, rashes and diarrhoea. If you experience rashes, hives or difficulty in breathing you may be allergic to pineapples.

Keep in mind that bromelain can interfere with certain medications like antibiotics, blood thinners, and antidepressants. If you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) completely avoid pineapples as they are acidic in nature and may increase heartburn.