Aside from its natural sweetness, pineapple stands out for its calcium, manganese, and vitamin C content, among other things.
Pineapple is more than just a tasty tropical fruit; it also has numerous health benefits. According to a study published in Biomedical Reports in September 2016, it has been used in folk medicine since ancient times. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, it is native to the Americas and is also grown in tropical climates around the world (NCCIH).
“Pineapple is a great source of vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, and minerals like manganese,” says Julie Andrews, RDN, an Appleton, Wisconsin-based chef.
Pineapple is available fresh, frozen, and canned throughout the year, making it a year-round option for those living in the United States. Canned pineapple is convenient but look for one that is packed in its own juices rather than syrup, advises Allison Knott, RDN, a dietitian in New York City. “Fruit naturally contains sugar in the form of fructose,” she explains, “so even canned fruit in its own juice will have grams of sugar listed on the label.” “However, the syrup is considered added sugar and will increase the total grams of sugar while contributing to the day’s added sugar intake.”
There are numerous ways to enjoy this juicy yellow fruit. Slices can be grilled and served with meat or as a tasty side dish, or frozen chunks can be blended into a smoothie. Of course, you can also snack on bite-sized pieces. Whatever way you like to eat it, if you haven’t already, you should start incorporating pineapple into your diet. Here are eight of the reasons why.
- Pineapple is a vitamin C-rich fruit.
“The standout nutrient in pineapple is vitamin C, which supports the immune system and provides antioxidant benefits,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN, a culinary nutritionist based in New York City and author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of pineapple contains 78.9 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C. (USDA).
According to MedlinePlus, this is more than the recommended dietary allowance for adult women (75 mg per day) and close to the recommendation for men (90 mg per day). Vitamin C is essential because it promotes growth and healing throughout the body, and it aids in everything from wound repair to iron absorption.
- Eating Pineapple May Help You Lose Weight
You may have heard that pineapple can help you lose weight. There isn’t much evidence to back up that claim, but an animal study published in Food Science and Biotechnology in April 2018 found that pineapple juice may help decrease the fat formation and increase fat breakdown. More human studies are needed, however, to confirm that finding.
Even if it doesn’t have a significant effect on your metabolism, it’s a good snack option because it’s low in calories, high in important vitamins and minerals, and contains no saturated or trans fats, according to Andrews. “There is no specific fruit or vegetable that directly causes weight loss,” Andrews says, “but they will help fill you up without packing on calories.” “As a result, people tend to consume fewer calories overall if they consume several cups of fruits and vegetables per day as part of a well-balanced diet.”
You might also discover that the fruit quenches your sweet tooth. “Pineapple is lower in calories than other sweet treats, so if you enjoy a serving of pineapple for your nightly dessert instead of an ice cream cone, you may consume fewer calories and, as a result, lose weight,” says Colleen Christensen, RD, a dietitian based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. According to the Mayo Clinic, pineapple contains fiber (2.3 grams in 1 cup, according to the USDA), which can help control your blood sugar level and help you eat less because it keeps you feeling full.
- Pineapple Consumption May Help Digestion
According to the NCCIH, pineapple contains bromelain, a mixture of enzymes that has been shown in studies to reduce inflammation and nasal swelling, as well as aid in the healing of wounds and burns. It has also been linked to aiding digestion and has historically been used to treat digestive disorders in Central and South American countries. According to a study published in Biotechnology Research International, the bromelain found in pineapple may help reduce the effects of diarrhea.
- Pineapple’s manganese content promotes bone health.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the trace mineral manganese, along with calcium, is essential for maintaining strong bones. According to Oregon State University, pineapple is one of the best food sources of manganese, with a single cup containing about 76 percent of the daily value.
According to Oregon State University, manganese may help prevent osteoporosis and improve overall bone and mineral density. However, consuming more than 11 mg of manganese per day can be dangerous and may increase the risk of cognitive disorders, according to a study published in The Open Orthopaedics Journal. But don’t worry: reaching those levels would be difficult because 12 cups of pineapple contain less than 1 mg manganese, according to Andrews.
According to Oregon State University, manganese can help prevent osteoporosis and improve overall bone and mineral density. But be careful not to overdo it — consuming more than 11 mg of manganese per day can be dangerous and may increase the risk of cognitive disorders, according to a study published in The Open Orthopaedics Journal. But don’t worry: reaching those levels would be difficult because a 12 cup pineapple contains less than 1 mg manganese, according to Andrews.
- Pineapple Is High in Antioxidants That Fight Disease
According to a study published in the journal Molecules in June 2014, pineapple is high in antioxidants, specifically phenolics, flavonoids, and vitamin C. “Antioxidants are compounds found in food that may aid in the fight against inflammation and free radicals in the body,” Knott explains. Free radicals, according to the NCCIH, are molecules that can cause cellular damage and lead to health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and vision problems. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods such as pineapple can help to mitigate these risks.
- Pineapple Has Cancer-Fighting Properties Due to Its Antioxidants
According to the Mayo Clinic, cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the body multiply and take over healthy tissue. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, experts recommend eating a healthy diet — ideally one high in antioxidants, which you can get from pineapple to help fight off free radicals — to reduce your risk, according to Stanford Health Care. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in November 2018 discovered that high antioxidant diets and blood concentrations were linked to a lower risk of cancer.
- Pineapple Fits into an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
According to Harvard Health Publishing, excessive inflammation can lead to a variety of diseases, including coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as pineapple, can help reduce the amount of inflammation in the body. According to a study published in Biomedical Reports in September 2016, the anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple are due to its bromelain content.
- The Nutrient Profile of Pineapple Indicates that the Fruit Can Help Boost Immunity
When you’re fighting a cold, you might want to reach for pineapple. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2014 discovered that children who ate canned pineapple had fewer viral and bacterial infections than children who did not eat it during the nine-week study period. The researchers concluded that eating one to two cans (140 to 280 grams) of pineapple daily may reduce the likelihood of infection or, at the very least, shorten the duration of an infection.