Pineapple is a tropical fruit available in any grocery store and a staple in many homes around the world. People are able to enjoy them in solid, dried, and juice forms. One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains approximately:
- 82 calories
- 0.2 grams (g) of fat
- 0 g of cholesterol
- 2 milligrams (mg) of sodium
- 21.65 g of total carbohydrate (including 16 grams of sugar and 2.3 grams of fiber)
- 0.89 g of protein
As a percentage of your daily requirements, the same amount of fresh pineapple chunks provides:
Pineapple is also a source of important vitamins and minerals, including:
- vitamin B-6
- pantothenic acid
- beta-carotene and other antioxidants
Health Benefits of Pineapples
Eating fruits and vegetables of all types has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like pineapples decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease.
Here are some of the health benefits you will be enjoying by eating pineapple:
Age-related macular degeneration
In one prospective study from 2004, people who ate 3 or more servings per day of all fruits demonstrated a decreased risk and slowed progression of age-related macular degeneration.
The risks of developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene. It is found in orange, yellow and dark green plant foods, such as pineapple, mangoes, papaya, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and carrots.
Increasing potassium intake by consuming high potassium fruits and vegetables can help with lowering blood pressure. Pineapple contains potassium and a high potassium intake is associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying from all causes.
As an excellent source of vitamin C, a strong antioxidant, pineapples can help combat the formation of free radicals. These are linked to the development of cancer. A 2004 case-control study linked beta-carotene to a protective effect on prostate cancer. However, more recent studies have demonstrated that this may not be the case. High fiber intake from all fruits and vegetables is associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
Individuals with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets tend to have lower blood glucose levels, and individuals with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One medium pineapple provides about 13 g of fiber.
Pineapples, because of their fiber and water content, help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract. Pineapples are also rich in bromelain, an enzyme that helps the body digest proteins. Bromelain also reduces inflammatory immune cells, called cytokines, that damage the digestive tract lining. The inedible stems are the most concentrated source of bromelain, which can be extracted and is readily available in supplement form.
Antioxidant-rich diets have been shown to improve fertility. Because free radicals can damage the reproductive system. Foods with high antioxidant activity like pineapples are recommended for those trying to conceive. The antioxidants in pineapple, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, and the vitamins and minerals copper, zinc, and folate have properties that affect both male and female fertility.
Healing and Inflammation
Some studies have shown that bromelain, primarily in the stem of pineapples, can reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain associated with injury and surgical intervention.
The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content in pineapple all promote heart health. In one study, people who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium per day reduced the risk of death from ischemic heart disease 49 percent when compared with those who consumed less potassium. Researchers link high potassium intakes to a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C also plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the support system of the skin.