One of the most popular tropical fruits across the world, the pineapple is an exceptionally juicy and sweet fruit. Pineapples are members of the bromeliad family and one of the few bromeliads to produce edible fruit.
Pineapples are a good source of many nutrients, such as vitamin C, manganese, copper and folate. They are also the only source of bromelain, a plant compound that’s associated with enhanced immune function, cancer prevention, improved wound healing and better gut health.
They may be super-sweet, but pineapples are surprisingly low in calories. A cup of pineapple chunks contains only 82 calories. They are also fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium.
But there are eight more reasons to add pineapples to the menu:
- For antioxidant protection and immune support: The body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin C, defends it against free radicals. Pineapple is extremely rich in vitamin C – it has half of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. This vitamin is vital for the proper functioning of the immune system, preventing recurrent colds, fever and flu. It also fights bigger problems like heart disease and joint pain.
- For stronger bones: Pineapple contains as much as 75% of the daily-recommended value of manganese, a mineral that is a must for developing strong bones and connective tissue.
- For healthier eyes: Regular consumption of pineapple has been linked to a lower risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the eyes as people age. This may be due to its high vitamin C and antioxidant content.
- For better digestion: Like many other fruits and vegetables, pineapples are high in dietary fibre. This keeps your intestines healthy and your bowel movements regular. The bromelain also helps breaks down protein and aids digestion.
- For preventing inflammation: The presence of bromelain can help reduce severe inflammation and can reduce tumour growth. Research also indicates that bromelain may be helpful in treating osteoarthritis.
- For increased energy: Pineapple is a superb source of manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Pineapple also contains thiamin, a B vitamin that acts as a cofactor in enzymatic reactions central to energy production.
- For reducing blood clot formation: The bromelain levels mean that pineapples can help reduce excessive coagulation of the blood. An ideal snack for frequent fliers and others who are a risk for blood clots!
- For the common cold: Doctors may not have found a cure for the common cold, but pineapples may help. The University of Maryland Medical Center has found that apart from the presence of vitamin C, the bromelain helps reduce mucus in the throat and nose.
Eat more Pineapple
Have more of this fruit by adding fresh pineapple to your morning cereal, lunchtime salad or post-dinner sweetened yogurt. Try adding it to a coleslaw or smoothie. You can even cook it into a curry!
But don’t overdo it
Pineapple is a meat tenderizer so eating too much can result in the tenderness of the mouth, including the lips, tongue and cheeks. Overdosing on pineapple may lead to diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or heartburn. Excessively high amounts of bromelain in the body can cause skin rashes and extreme menstrual bleeding. Those on antibiotics, anticoagulants, blood thinners, anticonvulsants and barbiturates should not eat too much of this tropical fruit.
Did you know?
A pineapple is actually made of many single berries that fuse together around a central core. Each pineapple scale is an individual berry. It takes almost three years for a pineapple to mature.