This yellow, spiny tropical fruit offers more than just a sweet flavor. Pineapple contains a high amount of vitamins and minerals, and it also contains a unique enzyme called bromelain. Researchers have studied the effect of bromelain on health, and bromelain can help lower inflammation in the body. This may be one reason why pineapple has been used for many years in Central and South America as a digestive aid.
Here is a closer look at the health benefits of pineapple and the differences between fresh and canned.
#1 – Vitamin C
One nutrient pineapple is particularly high in is vitamin C. Two slices of pineapple, which is about 4 ounces, provides 50% of the Daily Value of vitamin C for the day. Many large research studies have found that a higher intake of vitamin C is associated with a lowered risk of heart disease. One of vitamin’s roles in the body is to act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage from free radicals and may help lower damage to cells caused by carcinogens.
Vitamin C is also needed to make collagen, which is needed for healthy skin, teeth and gums. Vitamin C also has a role in boosting immune function; vitamin C can help stimulate the production of white blood cells.
Male adults 19 and older need at least 90 mg of vitamin C per day, and adult females 19 years and older need at least 75 mg per day. Reaching daily vitamin C needs can be easy if you add pineapple in your diet.
#2 – Manganese
Manganese is a trace mineral that is usually not in the spot light. However, getting enough manganese in the diet is important. One cup of pineapple provides about 76% of the Daily Value for manganese.
Manganese is part of an enzyme that is works as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Manganese also activates many enzymes involved with carbohydrate, protein and cholesterol metabolism. Manganese also has a role in bone and collagen formation.
#3 – Trace amounts of other nutrients
Pineapple is a source for many other nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin A, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and copper. Although the amount of these nutrients is not as high as vitamin C or manganese, eating pineapple can still contribute to your daily needs of these nutrients.
#4 – Bromelain
Pineapple is part of the bromeliad family and is a source for the enzyme bromelain. This enzyme is used to break down proteins and is often an ingredient in digestive enzyme supplements. It is also why pineapple has been used for centuries as a digestive aid.
Bromelain has other health benefits besides helping to break down proteins, according to several research studies. Bromelain appears to help lower inflammation and swelling in some instances, particularly after surgery. Bromelain may also help relieve conditions such as tendonitis, sprains and strains.
Some studies, but not all, also suggest bromelain may help reduce mucus build up in the nose and sinuses or relieve inflammation associated with some allergies. Pineapple is a natural source of bromelain; speak with a physician if you are considering taking bromelain because there are precautions with taking bromelain as a supplement.
#5 – What about the sugar content?
Like most fruit, pineapple has a relatively high amount of sugar. Two slices of fresh pineapple provide about 10 grams of sugar. Does this mean pineapple should be avoided because of the sugar? A 2013 study from the BMJ concluded that eating more whole fruits was associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes, even though fruits are a natural source of sugar.
On the other hand, higher consumption of fruit juice was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Consuming whole fruits is different than fruit juice because the fruit has natural fibers that delay the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. Therefore, if you are debating between pineapple juice and whole pineapple, choose the whole fruit. You can also read: Is Fruit Juice Good for You?
Difference between fresh and canned
Is canned pineapple the same as fresh? The difference with canned fruit is that sugar is often added. Canned fruit usually has a higher sugar content, so choose canned pineapple that does not have added sugar. Drain it before consuming.
Frozen pineapple is usually just frozen raw pineapple and can be an easy addition for things like smoothies.
Pineapple, like other fruits, is full of nutrients. It is a rich source of vitamin C and manganese, both which offer antioxidant benefit in the body. Pineapple also contains trace amounts of many other vitamins and minerals. One of pineapple’s unique characteristics is that it naturally is high in bromelain.
Bromelain may help lower swelling and inflammation and can be used as a digestive aid for breaking down proteins. Even though pineapple is high in sugar, consuming whole fruits has been shown to lower risk for type 2 diabetes.
References used in this article