This tropical fruit is a rich source of some key enzymes, so the benefits of pineapples start with better digestion. Besides, they have also been associated with inducing weight loss and treating inflammation.
Pineapples are also linked with improving children’s nutritional status (1), thanks to their rich nutritional profile. They are especially abundant in vitamins A and C.
In this article, we look at the benefits of this delicious fruit, its potential side effects, how to add it to your diet, and more. Keep scrolling!
In This Article
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Pineapples?
A cup (165 grams) of fresh pineapple chunks contains 82 calories. It has 22 grams of carbs and 2.3 grams of fiber. Following are the other nutrients present:
- 79 mg of vitamin C
- 95 IU of vitamin A
- 21 mg of calcium
- 19 mg of magnesium
- 12 mg of phosphorus
- 180 mg of potassium
- 29 mcg of folate
*Values sourced from USDA National Nutrient Database, pineapple, raw
Over the years, science has heavily researched on pineapples and the health benefits they offer. The following section talks about them in detail.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pineapples?
Pineapple contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that offers most of its benefits. Bromelain has been found to combat cancer and fight inflammation and associated ailments. The fruit also boosts your immunity and strengthens bones.
1. May Aid Weight Loss
Studies show the possible anti-obesity effects of pineapples. Rats fed on a high-fat diet showed a reduction in body weight, body mass index, body fat accumulation, and liver fat accumulation after the intake of pineapple juice (2).
Pineapple juice was observed to decrease lipogenesis (formation of fat) and increase lipolysis (the breakdown of fats to release fatty acids) (2).
Pineapple may appear to be the ideal food to burn belly fat, although we need more research in this regard.
2. May Aid Digestion
The most important component of pineapple is bromelain, a potent digestive enzyme. Studies show that bromelain (Digestive enzyme) supplementation may help in the breakdown of proteins (3).
It can help treat pancreatic insufficiency, a digestive disorder in which the pancreas doesn’t produce enough of certain enzymes the body uses to digest food in the small intestine (3).
A formula with bromelain as one of the primary ingredients could relieve excess flatulence and diarrhea (3).
3. May Help Reduce Cancer Risk
Studies have stated that bromelain in pineapples may have anti-cancer activity. The enzyme may have a direct impact on cancer cells and their environment (4).
Bromelain exhibits anti-cancer effects on colon cancer cells. Foods containing bromelain are considered good candidates for reducing the risk of colorectal cancer (5).
Bromelain can also hinder cancer progression by fighting inflammation, a primary contributor to cancer. It prevents the further generation of cancer cells by exposing them to the immune system. Various traditional and clinical reports indicate the anti-cancer properties of pineapple’s bromelain. Further studies may offer more promising results in this area (6).
In mouse studies, bromelain was also found to inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells. It also could reduce the survival of these cells (7).
4. May Help Combat Inflammation
In animal studies, bromelain has been reported to have therapeutic effects on various inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel syndrome. Bromelain exposure could remove a number of cell surface molecules that contribute to inflammation (8).
Bromelain in pineapples also achieves this by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines (9). These are compounds in the human system that promote inflammation, more so in the case of inflammatory bowel disease.
Pineapple extract was also found to treat other issues related to inflammation, including allergic airway disease. The fruit’s enzyme could alter the activation and expansion of specific cells of the immune system. The study was conducted on mouse cells (10).
5. May Help Treat Arthritis And Promote Bone Health
Bromelain may also aid in the treatment of osteoarthritis. The enzyme exhibits analgesic properties, especially in inflammatory pain in humans. It achieves this by directly influencing bradykinin, a pain mediator that causes the contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of blood vessels (11).
Pineapples also contain manganese, a mineral important in bone formation. They also contain vitamin C that supports the formation of collagen in bones. Pineapples can promote the growth of bones in the young and strengthen bones in older people (12).
The anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple’s bromelain may also help treat rheumatoid arthritis pain (13).
6. May Improve Cardiac Health
Bromelain in pineapples was found to reduce the aggregation of blood platelets. This may help treat acute thrombophlebitis (a condition characterized by blood clots). However, more studies on human populations are needed to conclude the beneficial effects of bromelain on cardiovascular disease (14).
Bromelain may also break down cholesterol plaques, further promoting heart health (15). Its efficacy in the treatment of other cardiac diseases, including coronary heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, and heart attack is yet to be proven.
7. May Promote Immunity
Bromelain in pineapples can modulate the immune system and potentially accelerate wound healing (16).
Children consuming pineapple juice also had a lower risk of contracting microbial infections. The fruit was found to increase the concentrations of the disease-fighting white blood cells by four times (1).
In another study, children with sinusitis showed faster recovery with a bromelain supplement (17).
Another study sheds light on bromelain’s potential to treat asthma symptoms. It may exert a therapeutic effect on various allergic airway diseases, including allergic asthma (18).
8. May Enhance Recovery
The anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple’s bromelain can aid recovery. This is especially true in case of a much-needed recovery after surgery. More studies are needed to establish bromelain’s effectiveness in post-surgery recovery (19).
In a study, bromelain intake significantly reduced pain in patients undergoing dental surgery. The enzyme offered similar relief as other anti-inflammatory drugs (20).
Bromelain was also found to reduce feelings of fatigue. It reduced muscle damage and improved recovery across consecutive days of cycling (21).
9. May Improve Skin Health
Pineapples are amazing-looking fruits with equally amazing benefits. There is no reason you shouldn’t add them to your diet. But how do you do it?
How To Add Pineapples To Your Diet
Pineapples are affordable and easy to eat. In addition to their goodness, they taste delicious too. You can enjoy pineapples in the following ways:
- Add a sliced pineapple to your morning smoothies.
- Chop pineapple and add it to your evening salad.
- Add the fruit to your homemade pizza.
- Pineapple is a versatile fruit and can be easily incorporated into most dishes.
Having a pineapple may not be the only way to enjoy the beneficial effects of bromelain. You may also check out supplements.
A Note On Bromelain Supplements
Your health care provider may recommend bromelain supplements, depending on your requirements and health condition. A standard dose of bromelain hasn’t been established yet. We recommend you check with your doctor before taking a supplement. They would also make the appropriate suggestions on the dosage.
You can get a bromelain supplement from your nearest health food store or online.
Pineapple is a tropical fruit with a myriad of benefits. But like any food out there, it has its share of potential adverse effects.
What Are The Side Effects Of Pineapples?
- May Cause Allergies
In some cases, pineapples may cause allergic reactions and diarrhea. The allergies include intense itching, rashes, abdominal pain, and vomiting (22).
- May Aggravate Asthma Symptoms
Though some research shows that pineapple may treat asthma symptoms, in certain individuals, the fruit may have an opposite effect (23).
- May Increase The Risk Of Bleeding
Bromelain may inhibit platelet aggregation and prevent blood clots. This can increase the risk of bleeding in certain individuals. It may also increase menstrual bleeding. Avoid pineapples right after surgery (24). (Pineapple may enhance recovery post-surgery, but its intake must be supervised by your doctor.)
Also, avoid using bromelain along with prescription blood thinners (25).
- Might Cause Miscarriage During Pregnancy
Anecdotal evidence suggests that pineapples may cause miscarriage (26). Hence, stay on the safe side and avoid intake of pineapples during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Please consult your doctor.
Pineapple benefits you in numerous ways. They can effectively aid in weight loss and digestion and improve bone, cardiac, and skin health. They also improve immunity, enhance recovery, combat inflammation, and reduce cancer risk. However, if you are allergic to pineapple, it is better to avoid its consumption. It may also aggravate asthma symptoms and increase the risk of bleeding and miscarriage in some. If you are pregnant or have any specific health condition, consult your doctor before including pineapple in your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much pineapple can you eat in a day?
A cup of pineapple contains about 80 milligrams of vitamin C, which is more than the recommended dietary allowance of the vitamin. Though there is not enough information on how much of the fruit you can eat in a day, having a cup (166 grams) of it should suffice.
Is pineapple good for diabetes?
Pineapple is relatively low in sugar, so it can be good for people with diabetes. But moderation is key. Hence, please check with your doctor.
Is it good to eat pineapple at night?
Yes. Some experts believe that pineapple may also boost sleep.
Is pineapple good for your liver and kidneys?
The fruit seems to be good for both the organs. Though more extensive research is required, consuming the fruit may help boost the health of your liver and kidneys.
- Effects of Canned Pineapple Consumption on Nutritional Status, Immunomodulation, and Physical Health of Selected School Children, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Physiological and molecular study on the anti-obesity effects of pineapple (Ananas comosus) juice in male Wistar rat, Food Science and Biotechnology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The Role of Enzyme Supplementation in Digestive Disorders, Alternative Medicine Review.
- Bromelain’s activity and potential as an anti-cancer agent: Current evidence and perspectives, Cancer Letters, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The chemopreventive action of bromelain, from pineapple stem (Ananas comosus L.), on colon carcinogenesis is related to antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications, Biomedical Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Evaluation of the Radiosensitizing Potency of Bromelain for Radiation Therapy of 4T1 Breast Cancer Cells, Journal of Medical Signals and Sensors, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Bromelain treatment decreases neutrophil migration to sites of inflammation, Clinical Immunology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Research Shows Promise of Pineapple Extract for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
- Researchers Investigate Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Pineapple Extract, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
- Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Nutritional Value and Medicinal Benefits of Pineapple, International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
- Efficacy of proteolytic enzyme bromelain on health outcomes after third molar surgery. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials, Medicina oral, patología oral y cirugía bucal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- A review of the use of bromelain in cardiovascular diseases, Journal of the Chinese Integrative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain: A Review, Biotechnology Research International, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Therapeutic Use, Efficiency and Safety of the Proteolytic Pineapple Enzyme Bromelain-POS® in Children with Acute Sinusitis in Germany, International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Pathophysiology and Drug Research.
- Bromelain limits airway inflammation in an ovalbumin-induced murine model of established asthma, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Therapeutic uses of pineapple-extracted bromelain in surgical care – A review, The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Perioperative bromelain reduces pain and swelling and improves quality of life measures after mandibular third molar surgery: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Acute protease supplementation effects on muscle damage and recovery across consecutive days of cycle racing, European Journal of Sports Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Systemic allergic reaction and diarrhoea after pineapple ingestion, Tropical and Geographical Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Allergic reactions, including asthma, to the pineapple protease bromelain following occupational exposure, Clinical Allergy, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Therapeutic uses of pineapple-extracted bromelain in surgical care – A review, The Aga Khan University, Department of Surgery.
- Bromelain has paradoxical effects on blood coagulability: a study using thromboelastography, Blood coagulation & fibrinolysis, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Causal explanations of miscarriage amongst Qataris, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.