Fun fact, pineapples were named by early European explorers because of its resemblance to a pinecone. It’s true. Pineapples are one of the most nutritious and delicious fruits on the planet, packed full of nutrients, antioxidants, and linked to a host of powerful health benefits. We’re going to discuss the health benefits of eating pineapples and why you should be adding a few slices to your nutrition plan.
What Is Pineapple
Ranked third behind bananas and oranges, pineapple is a popular fruit native to several tropical climates including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and China. Pineapple contains considerable amounts of bioactive compounds, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Additionally, pineapple has been proven to have a variety of powerful health benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties, digestive support, immunity boosting effects, and anti-cancer properties [R].
Pineapple has an impressive nutrient profile, packed with vitamins, nutrients, powerful plant compounds, and antioxidants. Many of the benefits of pineapple are also attributed to bromelain, a naturally occurring digestive enzyme which can aid in digestive health much like mango and amylase, and papaya and papain. In fact, research has shown that bromelain accounts for many of the therapeutic benefits of pineapple, notably the anti-inflammatory effects digestive health properties.
According to the USDA Food Central Database, one cup (5.8 ounces) of pineapple chunks contains
- Calories: 82.5
- Fat: 1.7 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 21.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.3 grams
- Vitamin C: 131% of the RDI
- Manganese: 76% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDI
- Copper: 9% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 9% of the RDI
- Folate: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 5% of the RDI
- Niacin: 4% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 4% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 3% of the RDI
- Iron: 3% of the RDI
Like Kiwi, Papaya, and Mango, Pineapple is packed with vitamin C, and contains 131% of your daily value, which can help strengthen immunity and reduce the severity of bacterial infection. Pineapple also contains 76% of your daily manganese intake, which is a naturally occurring mineral that can aid in growth, bone formation, and immune response.
Interestingly, pineapple contains eight phenolic compounds, including gallic acid, gentisic acid, syringic acid, vanillin, ferulic acid, sinapic acid, isoferulic acid and o-coumaric acid [R]. These phenolic compounds exhibit an antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory function as well as inhibit the hydrolytic and oxidative enzymes in human cells [R].
5 Must Have Pineapple Benefits
Pineapple Benefits Digestion
One of the greatest health benefits of eating pineapples is that it contains a group of digestive enzymes called Bromelain. Bromelain functions like protease, which breaks down protein into amino acids, and smaller peptides. Once protein is broken down, it is more easily absorbed. This is the exact reason why we add protease and papain from papaya, in our Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate. Studies have shown that bromelain can ease and enhance digestion for better digestive health.
Pineapple Benefits Post Workout Recovery
Bromelain contains powerful anti-inflammatory effects, which can enhance and optimize post workout recovery by reducing swelling and inflammation. Research investigating the effects of bromelain on knee and shoulder osteoarthritis, have shown positive clinical effects on reducing overall joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. In fact, several studies designed to assess the comparative effectiveness of bromelain with a standard treatment, the NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) diclofenac, have shown that bromelain is just as effective in treating knee osteoarthritis, specifically in joint pain and swelling [R].
Pineapple Benefits Heart Health
Research has also shown that Bromelain has been effective in the treatment of cardiovascular disease as it is an inhibitor of blood platelet aggregation, thus minimizing the risk of arterial thrombosis and embolism.
Studies have also shown that bromelain can prevent and minimize the severity of angina. Angina occurs when there is decreased blood flow to the heart, which results in chest pain and heart disease.
Even more interesting, is that bromelain has been found to reduce nearly all and protect against many risk factors that can contribute to development of cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, cholesterol, and stiffness of arteries.
In addition, pineapples are especially rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids. Antioxidants can help reduce and protect your body from free radical damage and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and the antioxidant capacity of cells. Much like inflammation, our bodies need a certain amount of oxidative stress to function and protect our cells, however an imbalance of free radicals can be harmful and contribute to the development of age-related disease.
RELATED ARTICLE The Best Heart Health Supplements
Pineapple Boosts Immunity
Pineapple may benefit your immunity due to the robust amount of vitamin C as well as the wide array of essential minerals and enzymes.
A wide range of clinical trials have shown that while vitamin C does not exhibit a significant prophylactic effect of the cold, it does reduce the severity and duration of symptoms [R].
A 2013 review showed that a daily dose of 1,000 – 2,000mg of vitamin C can shorten the duration of a cold by 8% in adults and 14% in children [R].
Vitamin C is essential in the skin’s defense system. Vitamin C acts synergistically with other nutrients to increase the skin barrier function and enhances protective activities of immune cells. It also encourages the production of white blood cells and reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines protecting the body against infection.
RELATED ARTICLE The Benefits Of Vitamin C
Pineapple Benefits Weight Loss
Pineapple has a very favorable nutrient profile which can aid in weight loss. In addition to being a low caloric food, with less than 100 calories per cup, pineapples are extremely water dense at 87% water making them a very satiating fruit.
By adding more pineapple in your diet you can effectively increase feelings of fullness, which will result in a caloric deficit, which is key in weight loss. Studies have also shown that bromelain may support lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat.
You may also find that eating more pineapple can be a great substitute to satisfy your sweet tooth. Pineapples are naturally sweet and can help reduce simple carbohydrate intake from eating desert foods and treats. With fewer calories, you’ll be able to lose more weight and still be able to get your fix.
Pineapple Benefits: Takeaway
It’s safe to say that pineapple provides an ample amount of health benefits, which can greatly improve your health and wellness. Packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, adding just one cup of pineapple a couple of times per week, can help improve your digestion, benefit weight loss, reduce your risk for chronic disease, and give yourself a healthy immune boost with over 100% of your daily intake of vitamin C. Let’s not forget that pineapples are in the top three for most popular fruits, because they’re just so good.
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