Health Benefits of Integrating Pineapple into Your Diet

Pineapple is the edible fruit of the Ananas Comosus plant. This tropical fruit belongs to the Bromeliaceae family and it is formed by a collation of flowers, each with its own eye. Ripe pineapples come with yellow or green spiky rinds, which when peeled off, reveal the succulent juicy yellow flesh. The fruit is typically spherical and varies in size. Ripe pineapples have a sweet and tangy taste and a prominent sweet smell that can dominate your kitchen.

Ananas Comosus got its common name pineapple from the pine cone because it resembled the pine cone.  Pineapple originated from Central and South America, however, it is now cultivated all over the world, especially in tropical regions. For centuries, the juicy flesh and the spiky rind of the fruit have been used to prepare herbal remedies for a variety of ailments. Today, modern science confirms the various benefits of the compounds found in pineapple. In this article, we look at the health benefits of including pineapple in your diet.

Nutritional and Health Benefits of Pineapple

Fresh pineapple is a rich source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. These nutrients help fight against diseases and maintain a healthy immune system. Pineapple contains manganese, which when combined with Vitamin A, helps to maintain a healthy metabolic rate. Pineapples are also rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids, two antioxidants that help reduce chronic inflammation and stimulate the immune system.

Many of the health benefits of pineapple come from Bromelain, an enzyme that boasts various phytotherapeutic effects. Bromelain is a type of proteolytic enzyme that is only found in the fruit or stem of the pineapple plant. It is known to have properties, such as its anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, fibrinolytic effects, and anticancer activity. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, bromelain helps fight pain, swelling, tumor cells, and blood clotting.

One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains the following nutrients:

  • Sodium - 2 mg
  • Carbohydrate - 21.65 g (2.3 grams of fiber and 16 grams of sugar)
  • Protein: 0.89 g
  • Calories - 82
  • Fat - 0.2 grams (g)
  • Cholesterol - 0g
  • folate
  • pantothenic acid
  • Magnesium
  • thiamin
  • riboflavin
  • vitamin B-6
  • manganese
  • potassium
  • beta-carotene and other antioxidants

The same quantity of fresh pineapple chunks provides the following nutrients as a percentage of your daily requirements:

  • Vitamin C - 131%
  • Vitamin A - 2%
  • Iron - 3%
  • Calcium - 3%

Here are some health benefits of pineapple that you need to know.

May Support Immune Functions

Pineapples are a good source of vitamin C, with half of the daily recommended dose for an adult in one serving. Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that protects against oxidative stress-induced cellular damage by scavenging free radicals. Also, the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain prove effective in helping to regulate the immune system. If you are suffering from sinuses, allergy swelling, or a seasonal cold, integrate pineapple into your diet as it can help fight infections and kill harmful bacteria. 

May Support Digestive Health

Being a rich source of vitamin C, bromelain, and dietary fiber, pineapple may promote digestive health. Vitamin C aids the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen to maintain the tissues of your digestive tract, which support healthy digestion. Also, the bromelain in pineapple breaks down protein into amino acids and peptides. This goes a long way in improving protein digestion in those who suffer from frequent constipation. Bromelain also minimizes the effects of inflammatory immune cells, called cytokines, that damage the digestive tract lining.

May Support Cardiovascular Health

The benefits of the bromelain in pineapple also extend to cardiovascular health. The proteolytic enzyme reduces the severity of angina pectoris and transient ischemic attack (TIA), which are both signs of increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Bromelain may also help prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of artery walls) by breaking down cholesterol plaques and inducing strong fibrinolytic activity.

Relieves Symptoms of Arthritis

Pineapple may also be useful in treating arthritis, a severe joint pain caused by inflammation. Because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, bromelain is an effective treatment for the pain, soft-tissue swelling, and joint stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. Indulge in drinking pineapple juice or eating chunks of it, if you suffer from arthritis.

Helps Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a condition worsened by the intake of high amounts of sodium. Pineapple is rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps get rid of sodium in the bloodstream and maintain blood pressure. Potassium also relieves tension in your blood vessel walls, lowering blood pressure even more. A cup of raw pineapple chunks weighing 165 grams provides about 180mg of potassium. That’s about 4% DV of pineapple.

Promotes Bone Health

Incorporating pineapple into your diet may benefit your bone health. The tropical fruit is rich in manganese, a nutrient that promotes strong and dense bones. With the aid of zinc, calcium, and copper, all present in pineapple, manganese can help prevent osteoporosis. By eating one cup of fresh pineapples, you can get 70% of your daily requirement of manganese.

Promotes Good Vision

Pineapple is a good source of vitamin C as well as other antioxidants that mitigates the risk of macular degeneration, a degenerative condition that affects the eye, especially in older adults.  Also, eating carotenoid-rich fruits such as pineapple supports eye health and prevents eye diseases.

The Bottom Line

Pineapple has more to offer than its sweet taste, the tropical fruit boasts several important health benefits. Its unique compound bromelain helps reduce inflammation, promotes digestion, supports cardiovascular health, and stimulates immune functions. Other nutrients in pineapple such as Vitamin C, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals also help tackle several chronic diseases and support the proper functioning of the body.