When you think about tropical fruits, most probably the first thing that comes to your mind would be pineapples. Juicy, sweet, tangy and delicious, a pineapple (Ananas comosus) is the storehouse of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. This tropical fruit, belonging to the Bromeliaceae family has its origins in South America. It is cylindrical in shape, covered with scales and comes in yellow and brown colors. Inside, the flesh is bright yellow in color and is tasty and succulent. Not only is this fruit sweet and delicious, it is also beneficial to your health in many ways.
Pineapple – Nutrition Facts
Pineapples are rich in vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, folates, and pyridoxine, and minerals including calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. Pineapple contains large amounts of bromelain in the stem, which is a proteolytic enzyme that helps in the digestion process by breaking down protein. A pineapple is low in calories, cholesterol and fat. It is also a rich source of dietary fiber.
Health benefits of pineapple
Pineapple, being rich in nutrients can promote good health, if included regularly in your diet. In addition to being delicious, pineapples offer tons of health benefits.
Pineapple for cold and cough
Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C which is very useful in fighting off the viruses that cause cold and cough. It also contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is an anti-inflammatory agent that has the power to destroy bacteria and infections. It also helps to loosen the mucous and expel it from your body. Drinking pineapple juice is a great way to get relief from sore throat.
Pineapple improves digestion
Pineapple is a good source of fiber and bromelain that can improve the health of your digestive system. Most of the fiber present in pineapple is soluble fiber that can bind the water in your stomach, as a result of which absorption is slowed down. Your body is able to absorb all the nutrients at this time. The insoluble fiber in pineapple regularizes your bowel movements, adds bulk to your stools and helps to eliminate it easily. Bromelain is a digestive enzyme that helps to break down the food that you eat and helps your body to absorb the protein.
Benefits of Pineapple – treatment of cancer
Studies show that the bromelain in pineapple has the power to kill cancer cells. This enzyme displays selective toxicity, whereby it destroys the dangerous cancer cells, leaving the healthy ones without any damage.
Pineapple is heart healthy
Vitamin C and bromelain in pineapple has been found to be beneficial to your heart. Platelet clumping is a dangerous condition that can lead to blocking of your arteries. Vitamin C helps to prevent platelet clumping. Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C can prevent the buildup of plaque by preventing the oxidation of bad cholesterol in your blood. Bromelain not only helps to break down plaque in the arteries, but is also an effective blood thinner. It allows for the free flow blood and helps reduce the risks of serious conditions like stroke, heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
Pineapple reduces bad cholesterol
Although pineapples do not contain cholesterol, they are found to have a positive effect in maintaining your cholesterol levels. This fruit contains sterols that can lower the levels of bad cholesterol. Bromelain in pineapple is a blood thinner that prevents the sluggish flow of blood. Proper blood circulation is essential to prevent clogged arteries and buildup of plaque. Moreover, vitamin C in pineapple is a powerful antioxidant that is also associated with lowering of cholesterol levels.
Pineapple for high blood pressure
The food that you eat can have a great impact on your blood pressure levels. Studies reveal that pineapple has the potential to reduce high blood pressure, owing to the presence of high levels of potassium and low levels of sodium in it.
Pineapple for energy boost
The high amount of fructose in pineapple breaks down easily providing energy. The nutrients present in this fruit also help to boost energy by increasing your metabolism.
Pineapple benefits for weight loss
Pineapple contains high levels of vitamin C, fiber and water, all of which help in losing weight. Being a low calorie and low energy density fruit, pineapple allows you to reach fullness even by eating a small amount. The high fiber and water content in this fruit also helps to make you feel full, thus preventing hunger pangs and overeating. Vitamin C helps you lose weight by boosting your metabolism.
Pineapple improves bone strength
Pineapple contains all the nutrients that are needed to keep your bones strong and healthy. The high levels of manganese in pineapple help to heal the connective tissues and broken bones and helps prevent conditions like osteoporosis. Pineapple also contains a proteolytic enzyme that is effective in relieving pain and inflammation. Calcium and vitamin C in this tropical fruit is also very important for maintain the health of your bones. While calcium helps your bones to grow and keeps them strong, vitamin C helps in preventing inflammation and bone diseases.
Pineapple can alleviate arthritis
Because pineapple has anti-inflammatory properties, its consumption can greatly help in alleviating the pain caused by arthritis. At the same time the minerals like calcium and manganese can strengthen your bones and keep them healthy. Similar conditions like gout and carpal tunnel syndrome can also be improved by the regular intake of pineapple.
Pineapple benefits for bronchitis
Bronchitis is a condition that is caused by the excess build up of mucus and phlegm in the lungs. The consumption of pineapple juice has been found to ease this condition because of the presence of high amounts of Bromelain. This enzyme is capable of reducing the buildup of mucus which allows for the easy passage of air in the lungs, hence providing immense relief to the patient.
Pineapple is good for the brain
Not only is pineapple good for improving your physical health, it is also excellent for your mental health. Pineapple can increase the level of serotonin, which is a mood enhancer. It can also help in combating depression and sadness.
Pineapple prevents macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is a condition that causes damage to your retina as you grow older, sometimes leading to loss of vision. It has been found that the consumption of pineapple can reduce the risks of macular degeneration. Pineapple contains beta-carotene that is important for keeping your eyes healthy.
Benefits of Pineapple for beautiful skin
Pineapple contains enzymes that can remove the dead and damaged cells, improve the elasticity of your skin and increase skin hydration. These enzymes, together with antioxidants like vitamin C can also fight the oxidation of cells caused by the free radicals and prevent damage to the skin. By combating the effect of the free radicals, pineapple can reduce wrinkles, fine lines and other symptoms of ageing.
Pineapple improves oral health
Pineapple is an amazing fruit that can contribute to improving your oral health. It has been found that the consumption of pineapple reduces the chances of developing gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. The nutrients in pineapple have the ability to destroy bacteria that can contribute to gum disease. Pineapple, being acidic prevents the growth of bacteria in your mouth.
Pineapple for whitening teeth
Did you know applying pineapple crush to your teeth can actually make them white? Yes, pineapples can help whiten your teeth. It contains, “magic” enzyme bromelain which works as teeth stain remover. It protects your teeth enamel, removes plaque from your teeth and thus prevents dental carries.
Side effects of pineapple
In spite of the fact that pineapple is packed with nutrition, too much consumption can sometimes lead to unpleasant side effects. One of the side effects that are associated with eating too much pineapple is allergic reactions. In some cases these reactions are mild and invloves swelling of the lips, tongue and inner cheeks. These mild reactions often subside within a few hours. But in some cases, the allergic reaction may cause swelling followed by rashes, and breathing problems. Should such a situation occur, it is recommended to stop eating the fruit and seek medical care immediately. Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain. Too much of bromelain can cause diarrhea, vomiting, skin rash, and severe menstrual bleeding. It is recommended that pregnant women avoid eating large amounts of pineapple as it is capable of causing uterine contractions, which may lead to miscarriages.
The enzyme bromelain in pineapple has been found to have interactions with certain medications. So if you are taking medications that include anticoagulants, antibiotics, barbiturates, anticonvulsants, insomnia drugs, blood thinners, and antidepressants, it is highly important that you consult your doctor before eating pineapple. Eating unripe pineapple or drinking the juice of an unripe pineapple should be avoided at any cost, as it can lead to severe vomiting and diarrhea. Unlike fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges etc that are consumed daily, pineapple is usually not eaten by people on a regular basis, even though it is easily available.
Although cutting the skin and coring the fruit may be time consuming, it is worth including this tropical fruit in your daily diet, considering the innumerable health benefits it offers. It can be eaten raw as a snack or cooked and included it in your main course. On a hot summer day, if you need something refreshing and healthy to eat, pineapples are the ideal choice.Image Credits: Flickr - Courtney Collison, Flickr - Kyle McDonald