Many of us probably take pineapple for granted since it is so easy to find. We are intrigued by the fruit’s regal look that resembled a pinecone. That familiar mix of sweet and tangy that creates the signature flavor of pineapple is enough for most people. But the benefits of eating pineapple can add more reason for including it in our diet.
A 100 grammes of fresh pineapple has only 50 calories, is fat-free, has a milligramme of sodium, and 1.4g of dietary fibre. A 100g of pineapple also contributes 79 per cent of your vitamin C intake for the day. Other notable vitamins and minerals include potassium, vitamin B6 and thiamin.
Health benefits of pineapples
Improves eye health
The Vitamin A and beta carotene found in pineapple are essential for eye health. These two nutrients help produce the pigments that allow your retinas to work properly so you can see the full spectrum of light. They also help keep the structure of the cornea strong and help your eyes produce the moisture they need to stay lubricated. Additionally, the Vitamin C in pineapple can help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
Aid in weight loss efforts
Although there are no miracle foods that directly lead to weight loss, incorporating pineapple into a healthy, balanced diet can help with your weight loss goals.
Pineapple is a great, healthy snack because it is low in calories and packed with the essential vitamins and minerals mentioned in the last section. Pineapple does not contain saturated or trans fats, which are the “bad” fats. For this reason, pineapple can fill you up without filling your diet with calories.
Another reason pineapple is a great go-to snack, especially after dinner, is because it can satisfy your sweet tooth. It contains natural fiber, which helps your body regulate blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full.
Pineapples contain chemicals called flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants. The flavonoids in pineapples tend to last longer than other natural antioxidants and provide lasting benefits.
Help with digestion
Pineapples contain a digestive enzyme called bromelain. This function like digestive enzymes in the body called proteases that break down proteins into the basic building blocks like peptides and amino acids.
Once proteins are broken down, they become available to the metabolism to build things like muscles and enzymes. For people who have compromised digestive systems, for example, people suffering from certain types of pancreas disorders, pineapples can help with the digestive process.
Reduce cancer risk
Researchers have linked the unrestrained growth of cancer cells to oxidative stress. Several studies have found that pineapple can help reduce this risk and reduce the overall risk of cancer. The active chemical agent that appears to fight cancer is the digestive enzyme bromelain.
In one study, researchers found that bromelain was effective in slowing the growth of breast cancer cells. Other studies found that the bromelain found in pineapples can suppress the growth of skin cancer, colon cancer, and cancer of the digestive system.
In addition to inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, bromelain from pineapples has also been found to stimulate the immune system. Bromelain appears to stimulate the growth of white blood cells which actively fight the development of cancer and also work to eliminate cancer cells from the body.
Boost immunity and fight inflammation
The collection of vitamins, minerals, and the enzyme bromelain may all work together to help boost immunity and fight inflammation.
In studies that involved children, researchers found that the children who regularly ate pineapple have stronger immune systems than children who did not eat pineapple. The children who ate pineapple had significantly less risk of viral and bacterial infections. These children also had a higher level of white blood cells, the cells that fight disease, in their systems.
These results led researchers to treat some infections directly with the enzyme bromelain derived from pineapples. This study discovered that children who suffered from sinus infections recovered faster than a control group who were not given bromelain. Further studies demonstrated that bromelain was also effective in reducing inflammation.
May help with arthritis
One of the main causes of many types of arthritis is inflammation. Since pineapples contain the powerful anti-inflammatory bromelain, it is believed that pineapples can help treat arthritis. What is more the bromelain concentrations in pineapples may be effective in treating the pain of arthritis. In fact, since the 1960s, doctors have recommended eating pineapples for people who suffer from arthritis.
One study compared the effects of taking bromelain from pineapples with a common medicine used to treat arthritis. This study found that the bromelain from pineapples was just as effective in treating arthritis pain as the prescription drug diclofenac.
Researchers have concluded that for many people who suffer from arthritis, simply eating more pineapple may be one of the best treatments for inflammation and pain.
Improves the look of skin
Looking for a healthier and more rejuvenated complexion? Pineapple contains a powerful enzyme called bromelain which can break down and help sweep away dead skin cells. This makes it the ideal ingredient for a face mask. Simply rub a cube of freshly sliced pineapple on your face and neck, avoiding more sensitive areas (especially nicks and pimples!). Let the juice sit for about 5 minutes, then rinse. After a few applications, you’ll begin to notice your skin look younger and brighter. Limit this treatment to once a week as the acidic properties of pineapple can also irritate skin.
May speed recovery from surgery and exercise
Pineapples appear to speed recovery times from surgery and after strenuous exercise. This is again due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the enzyme bromelain.
Several studies have revealed that bromelain can reduce inflammation enough to reduce things like swelling, bruising, and pain that can come from surgery. Also, the inflammation that is a natural response to surgery responds well to bromelain.
As most of us know, strenuous exercise also causes tissue damage. This is part of the process of building muscle. Unfortunately, this leads to some serious soreness after a workout. Bromelain is a protease, and these compounds are known to speed recovery times from intense workouts. The anti-inflammatory properties of pineapples can reduce inflammation sufficiently to help with the soreness that follows a workout.
Side effects and risks
Eating too much pineapple can lead to nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or heartburn. Some people who are especially sensitive to pineapple may experience rashes.
Eating unripe pineapple or drinking the juice of unripe pineapple can be toxic and may lead to severe vomiting and diarrhea.