7 Health Benefits of Eating Pineapple
When Christopher Columbus brought pineapples 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, today it is widely consumed across the world. This tropical fruit is not only nutritious but also offers incredible health benefits. Read on about the health benefits of eating pineapple!
Pineapples have been used for centuries to treat digestion problems and inflammation in South and Central America. Interestingly, despite its sweetness, one cup of pineapple chunks contains only 82 calories and only with 16 grams of sugar per cup. They are also fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium.
Did you know?
-Pineapples are actually clusters of hundreds of fruitlets
-Pineapples are native to South America before Columbus discovered them in 1493
-To plant a pineapple, all you need to do is cut the upper top of the fruit and plant it in the soil
-Pineapples are used as meat tenderizer due to the presence of a compound called bromelain
The tropical fruit is rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants which help boost the immune system, build strong bones and aid digestion. Pineapple contains high amounts of vitamin C and manganese, both of which have significant antioxidant properties. It also contains high amounts of thiamin, a vitamin that is involved in energy production.
Health benefits of eating pineapple
Let’s delve deeper to know about the health benefits of eating pineapples.
Boosts Immune system
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights cell damage and protects against diseases such as joint pain and heart disorders. They contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that boost immunity and suppress inflammation. Pineapple contains the enzyme called bromelain which is a powerful natural detoxing agent and has anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties.
According to studies, pineapple has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. It reduces oxidative stress and fights inflammation due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains high levels of manganese and flavonoids which prevents cancer cell proliferation. Studies have shown that bromelain may increase the body’s production of white blood cells which are effective at suppressing cancer cell growth.
Maintains bone strength
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, pineapple contains nearly 75% of the daily recommended value of the mineral manganese which is essential for developing strong bones and connective tissues.
Manganese is an essential element of energy production. It allows the body to use key nutrients including thiamine and biotin which keeps the bones healthy and helps in synthesizing fatty foods. A study suggested that manganese may also be helpful in preventing osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.
Maintains eye health
Due to its high vitamin C and antioxidant content, pineapples can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the eyes as people age. Pineapple also contains vitamin A and beta-carotene that improves eye health and maintains eyesight.
Pineapple contains dietary fiber, which is essential in keeping the intestines and your digestive system healthy. Apart from that, pineapple contains significant amounts of bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein. These function as proteases which break down protein molecules into their building blocks, such as amino acids and peptides.
The break down of protein molecules lead to easier absorption across the small intestine. This is especially helpful for people with pancreatic insufficiency, a condition in which the pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes.
Due to the presence of bromelain, pineapples can help reduce severe inflammation as well as tumour growth. Various studies show that bromelain may be helpful in treating osteoarthritis, a joint inflammation that results from the breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. Pineapple also contains vitamin C which helps fight inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Pineapples can help reduce excessive coagulation of the blood due to high levels of bromelain present in it. Bromelain influences blood coagulation by inhibiting the synthesis of fibrin, a protein involved in blood clotting.
How can you include pineapple in your diet?
You can use pineapples in the following ways:
- You can use pineapples in pizza, salad, jam, cake, and cocktails to name some.
- Instead of consuming other fruit juice, freshly made pineapple juice may be another good choice as it contains the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. This will keep you healthy by fighting against viral infections.
- You can use it in desserts by preparing pineapple kesari and pineapple halwa.
- Eating pineapple will reduce inflammation occurring in the throat, sinus and other injury-related inflammation. This is because contains bromelain which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
Health risks and Side-Effects
Some of the side-effects of consuming pineapples are as follows:
- Due to the fact that the pineapple contains a high amount of vitamin C, consuming large quantities may induce diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting, abdominal pain or heartburn.
- An excessive amount of bromelain can cause skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhoea, and excessive menstrual bleeding, according to the University Of Maryland Medical Center. Bromelain can also interact with some medications. People who are on antibiotics, anticoagulants, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, insomnia drugs and tricyclic antidepressants should be careful not to consume too much pineapple.
- Eating unripe pineapple or drinking unripe pineapple juice may be harmful according to horticulture department at Purdue University. In the unripe stage, it is toxic to humans and can lead to severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Eating too much pineapple cores can lead to fiber ball formation in the digestive tract.
- Excessive consumption of pineapples can cause side effects like heartburn, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea.
100 grams of pineapple provides 50 calories, Sodium – 1 mg, Potassium – 109 mg, Total Carbohydrate – 13 g (Dietary fiber – 1.4 g, Sugar – 10 g), Protein – 0.5 g
Percentage daily value of Vitamin A – 1%, Vitamin C – 79%, Calcium – 1%, Iron – 1%, Vitamin B-6 – 5%, Vitamin D – 0%, Magnesium – 3%(based on a 2,000-calorie diet)