Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is an incredibly delicious and healthy tropical fruit.
This popular fruit is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and other helpful compounds, such as enzymes that can fight inflammation and disease.
Pineapple and its compounds have been linked to many health benefits, including aiding digestion, boosting immunity and speeding up recovery from surgery, among others.
Here are 8 impressive health benefits of pineapple.
1. Loaded With Nutrients
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Pineapples are low in calories but have an incredibly impressive nutrient profile.
One cup (5.8 ounces or 165 grams) of pineapple chunks contains the following (2):
- Calories: 82.5
- Fat: 1.7 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 21.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.3 grams
- Vitamin C: 131% of the RDI
- Manganese: 76% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDI
- Copper: 9% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 9% of the RDI
- Folate: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 5% of the RDI
- Niacin: 4% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 4% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 3% of the RDI
- Iron: 3% of the RDI
Pineapples also contain trace amounts of vitamins A and K, phosphorus, zinc and calcium.
They are especially rich in vitamins C and manganese, providing 131% and 76% of the daily recommendations, respectively.
Vitamin C is essential for growth and development, a healthy immune system and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet. Meanwhile, manganese is a naturally occurring mineral that aids growth, maintains a healthy metabolism and has antioxidant properties .
Pineapples are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese.
2. Contains Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Not only are pineapples rich in nutrients, they are also loaded with healthy antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that help your body combat oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a state in which there are too many free radicals in the body. These free radicals interact with the body's cells and cause damage that is linked to chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system and many harmful diseases .
Pineapples are especially rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic
What’s more, many of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound. This allows the antioxidants to survive harsher conditions in the body and produce longer lasting effects
Pineapples are a good source of antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Many of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound, so they may have longer lasting effects.
3. Its Enzymes Can Ease Digestion
Pineapples contain a group of known as bromelain
They function as proteases, which break down protein molecules into their building blocks, such as amino acids and small peptides.
Once protein molecules are broken down, they are more easily absorbed across the small intestine. This can be especially helpful for people with pancreatic insufficiency, a condition in which the pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes
For example, one study showed that participants with pancreatic insufficiency experienced better digestion after taking a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain, compared to taking the same digestive enzyme supplement without bromelain
Bromelain is also widely used as a commercial meat tenderizer due to its ability to break down tough meat proteins .
Pineapples contain bromelain, a group of digestive enzymes that breaks down proteins. This may aid digestion, especially in those with pancreatic insufficiency.
4. May Help Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Cancer is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.
Its progression is commonly linked to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
Several studies have shown that pineapple and its compounds may reduce the risk of cancers. This is because they may minimize oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
One of these compounds is the group of digestive enzymes called bromelain. Test-tube studies have shown that bromelain may also help fight cancer.
For instance, two test-tube studies showed that bromelain suppressed the growth of breast cancer cells and stimulated cell
Other test-tube studies show that bromelain suppresses cancer in the skin, bile duct, gastric system and colon, among other areas
Test-tube and animal studies have found that bromelain may stimulate the immune system to produce molecules that make white blood cells more effective at suppressing cancer cell growth and eliminating cancer cells
That said, pineapple contains much less bromelain than supplements do. More human-based research is needed before any conclusions can be made.
Pineapple contains compounds that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are linked to cancer. One of these compounds is the enzyme bromelain, which may stimulate cell death in certain cancer cells and aid white blood cell function.
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