Health Benefits of Pineapple: Uses, Precautions and More
Pineapple is a highly nutritious tropical fruit which has become highly popular and is available in various forms: fresh fruit, frozen fruit, juice, tablets and capsules. The top crown of the fruit contains a bud that indicates when the fruit is ready for cutting. The crowns from the top are used for propagation, as pineapples don’t have any viable seeds. The plant of this fruit grows to a height of 1 m. Pineapples grow in areas of relatively low rainfall (50 to 200 cm).
The pineapple is native to South America and was brought to Europe by Spanish explorers. Traditional uses of pineapple include the brewing of pineapple wine, the production of fibre, and medicinal use to induce menstruation, kill parasitic amoebas, and expel worms. Few clinical trials support that bromelain, a crude, aqueous extract of pineapple, was used as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Nutritional Profile of Pineapple
Pineapples are available in different varieties, and their nutritional value may slightly differ.
However, the data from the US Department of Agriculture based on raw pineapples of 80% extra sweet variety and 20% traditional variety suggests that 100 grams of pineapple contain the following nutritional values –
Protein: 0.54 g
Fibres: 1.4 g
Energy: 50 kcal
Total lipid (fat): 0.12 g
Carbohydrate: 13.1 g
Calcium: 13 mg
Potassium: 109 mg
Vitamin C: 47.8 mg
Vitamin B-6 : 0.112 mg
Manganese: 0.927 mg
Varieties of Pineapple
Pineapple, also known as Ananas comosus, is a shallow-rooted tropical plant that is grown in different parts of the world and is available in multiple different varieties and types.
The types vary according to size, shape, colour, and more. Some varieties are more resistant to disease and are better for commercial transport. In contrast, others are more tender and are challenging to be shipped over long distances. The varieties of pineapples also differ in sweetness, acidity and fibre content.
There are dozens of different varieties of pineapples, but some are more commonly available as compared to others. The most popularly available variety of pineapple is the smooth cayenne (also known as cayena Lisa in Spanish)
One can divide pineapples into 4 major types :
Smooth Cayenne Pineapples
Smooth cayenne pineapples are widely popular. They are readily available in the United States. They have a distinct yellow flesh and are very juicy. They are also bigger compared to various other varieties.
Red Spanish Pineapples
This variety of pineapple is orange-red and has an aromatic flavour. They are high in fibre but are less tender compared to other varieties. They are primarily grown in the Caribbean.
Queen pineapples are dark yellow with a small core, have a pleasant aroma and flavour and taste better if eaten fresh. Queen pineapples grow in Australia and South Africa. Queen Victoria Pineapple, also known as Queen Victoria or Victoria Pineapple, is a smaller, exceptionally sweet pineapple variety. It’s known for its rich flavour and golden-yellow skin.
This variety of pineapple is very sweet and quite resistant to disease, making them a prevalent crop to grow. Their weight is around 2 to 11 pounds (0.907 kg to 4.98 kg). Their flesh is nearly translucent in colour. They are very delicious but very delicate for commercial travel and trade purposes.
There are several varieties of pineapples available all across the world that vary from each other in size, shape, colour, sweetness, fibre content, nutritional values, etc. However, four major types of pineapples are grown on a large scale. Smooth Cayenne pineapples, Red Spanish pineapples, Queen pineapples and Abacaxi Pineapples.
8 Health Benefits of Pineapple
Pineapple, a tropical fruit known for its sweet and tangy taste, offers a range of potential health benefits that make it a valuable addition to your diet. Let’s explore these benefits.
1. Improves Digestion
Pineapples are rich in dietary fibre, which plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber aids in regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Moreover, pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which assists in the breakdown of proteins into amino acids and peptides. What’s remarkable about bromelain is that it operates effectively in both the acidic environment of the stomach and the alkaline environment of the small intestine. This dual functionality ensures efficient digestion, particularly benefiting individuals who experience digestive issues or pancreatic insufficiency.
2. Promotes Injury Healing
Bromelain, found in pineapple, exhibits excellent wound-healing properties. It possesses anti-inflammatory qualities, reducing inflammation, swelling, and bruising following injuries or surgical procedures. This action not only speeds up the healing process but also minimises pain and discomfort.
3. Supports Cardiovascular Health
Pineapple’s bromelain content may have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. It helps prevent and reduce the severity of angina attacks and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). Additionally, bromelain aids in the breakdown of cholesterol plaques, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition characterised by the hardening of arteries.
4. Provides Relief in Arthritis Symptoms
Bromelain in pineapple possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Various studies suggest that bromelain, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, could provide relief from the inflammatory pain associated with arthritis. While more research is needed, early findings indicate the potential of bromelain in managing arthritis symptoms.
5. Strengthens Bones and Teeth
Pineapple contains a good amount of calcium and manganese, essential minerals that contribute to strong gums, bones, and teeth. Regular consumption of pineapple can help maintain dental health and bone strength over the long term.
6. Good for Eyes
Pineapple consumption may reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease. This benefit is due to the presence of vitamin C and antioxidants in pineapple. These nutrients play a role in maintaining good vision and preventing eye-related issues.
7. Skin Benefits
Pineapple’s vitamin C and antioxidant content can rejuvenate the skin and address various skin problems such as acne, rashes, and skin damage. Additionally, these compounds reduce the risk of sun damage, uneven skin tone, inflammation, and scars. Incorporating pineapple into your diet may contribute to healthier, more youthful, and smoother skin. Pineapple can also benefit your hair by providing essential nutrients to the hair and scalp, promoting shinier and healthier locks.
8. Promotes Weight Loss
While not yet conclusive for humans, pineapple, specifically raw pineapple juice, may possess anti-obesity properties. Bromelain in pineapple has been linked to a higher metabolic rate, enabling the body to burn calories more efficiently. Furthermore, bromelain aids in digestion, enhancing nutrient absorption. These combined effects could contribute to weight loss in individuals.
Incorporating Pineapple into a regular diet can provide multiple health benefits. Pineapple is rich in fibre, which benefits digestion. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down proteins into amino acids and improves digestion. It has excellent wound-healing properties that reduce inflammation and help in faster recovery from injuries. Bromelain also reduces the risk of cardiovascular attacks. The anti-inflammatory property of this fruit helps relieve arthritis pain, while the Vitamin C and antioxidants improve vision, bone and teeth strength and improve skin and hair texture.
Ways to Eat Pineapple
Pineapple is a delicious fruit that can be sliced and enjoyed on its own. Since cooking pineapple can destroy the enzyme action so crucial for the body, it’s best to eat fresh, raw pineapple, dehydrated pineapple (without added sugar or sulfites), or frozen pineapple.
However, there are also various other ways in which one can eat pineapple.
As a topping over cereal, yoghurt, or even a bowl of ice cream.
Pineapples can be grilled, baked or roasted, and one can use it as a sweet and tangy topping.
You can also make fruit salads, juices, smoothies, etc.
Pineapple-based recipes are tasty and healthy. They are perfect as a refreshing side dish or a light and nutritious snack on a hot day.
Frozen Pineapple: 150 g
Banana: ½ medium
Greek vanilla yoghurt: 75 g
Fat-free coconut milk: 300 ml
Method of Preparation
Once you have all the ingredients ready, add the pineapple, banana, yoghurt and ice and blend it.
Then, add some milk and make sure that it turns into a smooth liquid
While adding milk, you need to add ¼ cup at a time, boil it for 20 seconds and then add some more.
Now, pour it into a glass, and your pineapple smoothie is ready.
Fresh pineapple chunks: 250g
Cucumber, diced: 150g
Red bell pepper, finely chopped: 75g
Red onion, finely chopped: 100g
Green chilli, finely chopped (adjust to your spice preference): 1
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped: 2tbsp
Fresh mint leaves, chopped: 1 tbsp
Toasted cumin powder: ½ tsp
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the fresh pineapple chunks, diced cucumber, chopped red bell pepper, and finely chopped red onion.
2. Add the finely chopped green chilli, fresh coriander leaves, and mint leaves to the bowl for a burst of flavour and freshness.
3. Sprinkle the roasted cumin powder over the salad. You can roast cumin seeds in a dry pan for a minute or two until they release their aroma and then grind them into a powder.
4. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the salad to enhance the flavours and give it a tangy twist.
5. Add a pinch of salt to taste and gently toss all the ingredients together until they are well combined.
6. Refrigerate the salad for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to set and the salad to chill.
Recommended Intake and Precautions
The dietary guidelines suggest 21 to 25 g of pineapple for women and between 30 to 38 g per day for men. One must not consume pineapple on an empty stomach to avoid acidity. The best time advised for its intake is said to be around 10-11 a.m. as a mid-morning snack or about 4-5 p.m. as an evening snack.
Two slices of pineapple contain approximately 100 mg of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The usual dosage of bromelain is 40 mg, taken 3 to 4 times a day. Pineapple products such as liquid, tablets and capsules contain 500 mg of bromelain and a dosage of 500-1000 mg daily.
Potential Side Effects
The pineapple is rich in high glucose and sucrose content. Some people may have a blood sugar spike when consumed in excess. Blood sugar levels get elevated by the carbs included in most fruits. The carbohydrate content in a half cup of pineapple is 15 grams.
The juice and stem of pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain. While natural bromelain does not appear to be dangerous, it may make bleeding more likely if taken along with blood thinners.
The gums and dental enamel may deteriorate as a result of the pineapple’s acidity. Moreover, it may result in oral cavities and gingivitis. This event happens as a result of our immune system mistaking the protein in pineapple for pollen or another allergy.
Those who use pineapple juice should exercise caution. It could cause a stomach ailment. Therefore, one should not consume it on an empty stomach.
Along with all the nutritional benefits that pineapple provides, there are also a significant amount of possible side effects that one needs to take into consideration before taking excessive dosage of the fruit. The high glucose and Sucrose content can lead to high blood sugar levels. The enzyme bromelain might also behave differently with the body. It can cause bleeding more likely if taken with blood thinners. Pineapple’s acidity might affect gums and dental enamel. While drinking pineapple juice on an empty stomach can cause acidity and an uncomfortable stomach. Hence, a careful and considerate intake of pineapple is good for healthy eating.
You can use pineapple as a way to curb your sweet cravings. Slice your pineapple and then place the slices on a hot pan and sprinkle a little jaggery powder on top. Flip the slices and sprinkle jaggery on the other side. Let the pineapple slices caramelise in the pan and then serve hot as a nutritious dessert.
The Final Word
Pineapple is a highly nutritious fruit with a wide range of varieties of different tastes, textures, sizes, colours, etc. It has high nutritional value as it has an adequate amount of fibre, vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium, energy, manganese, protein and other essential vitamins and nutrients. This fruit can provide a healthy addition to one’s diet, and it offers multiple benefits, including improvement of the digestive system, cardiovascular system, vision, skin and hair health, bone strength, etc. One can consume it in various ways. However, it also has specific side effects like stomach ailments, blood thinning quality and sugar spikes. Hence, one must consider allergies and health conditions and eat it in moderate quantities.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the nutritional content of pineapples?
A: Pineapple offers a rich nutritional profile that includes a small amount of protein, minimal fat, and a good source of dietary fibre. It provides energy and is naturally sweet with sugars, including glucose and sucrose. Pineapple contains essential minerals and vitamins, making it a nutritious addition to your diet.
Q: How do pineapples contribute to overall health?
A: Incorporating pineapple into a regular diet can provide multiple health benefits. Pineapple is rich in fibre, which benefits digestion. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has excellent wound healing properties that reduce inflammation and help in faster recovery of injuries. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular attacks. The anti-inflammatory property helps improve immunity, while the Vitamin C and antioxidants improve vision, bone and teeth strength and improve skin and hair texture.
Q: Are pineapples a good source of vitamin C?
A: Yes, According to USDA’s data, 100 g of pineapple contains 47.8 mg of vitamin C, which is a good amount for any food ingredient.
Q: What is the impact of pineapples on digestion and gut health?
A: Pineapple is rich in fibres, which benefits digestion. Pineapple also contains an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down proteins into amino acids and further improves digestion.
Q: Can pineapples help reduce inflammation and joint pain?
A: Yes, Pineapple contains a good amount of antioxidants that benefit in reducing inflammation and joint pain.
Q: What role do pineapples play in supporting the immune system?
A: The anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple help improve the immune system and reduce the risk of infections.
Q: Are there potential benefits of pineapple for skin and hair health?
A: Pineapple can rejuvenate the skin and benefit from skin problems like acne, skin rashes or skin damage. The vitamin C and antioxidants present also reduce the risk of sun damage, uneven skin tone, inflammation and scars.
Q: How should pineapples be prepared and consumed to maximise their health benefits?
A: Since cooking pineapple can destroy the enzyme action so crucial for the body, it’s best to eat fresh, raw pineapple, dehydrated pineapple (without added sugar or sulfites), or frozen pineapple.
Q: Can pineapples be part of a diabetic-friendly diet?
A: People with diabetes do not have to avoid any fruit, including pineapple. While pineapple does have natural sugar and carbs, you can enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Q: What are the potential effects of pineapples on heart health and blood pressure?
A: Bromelain breaks down blood clots and cholesterol deposits in the arteries, which can support healthy blood flow and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Q: Can pineapple consumption affect dental health and oral hygiene?
A: Pineapples have the ability actually to whiten your teeth and strengthen your gums. However, they aren’t just highly acidic, but they’re also high in sugar. Overeating can trigger tooth pain or sensitivity.
Q: Are there any concerns or myths about pineapple causing allergies?
A: A pineapple allergy can lead to irritation in the mouth, rashes, swelling, and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that needs urgent medical attention.
Q: How can pineapple be used in cooking and recipes for healthy results?
A: You can cook sweet and savoury dishes with pineapple. One can add this sweet and crunchy tropical fruit in puddings, Salads, salsas, juices, and smoothies. One can also make grilled items by pairing them with meat and seafood and add them as toppings to pizzas or bake cakes and pastries.