Pineapples are a juicy tropical fruit with a regal crown that are appreciated not just for their distinctive sweet and tart taste but for their immense health benefits as well.
The fruit is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins A and C, thiamin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and folate. Additional benefits are that it is low in sodium and fat. Plus, being low in calories, pineapples sure are a dieter’s friend.
Enjoy this savory fruit raw, grilled or sautéed. You can add it to fruit salad, fruit kabobs, stir fry, salsa and Hawaiian pizza, or simply enjoy it as a fruit snack. You can also have fresh pineapple juice or make yummy pineapple popsicles.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of pineapples.
1. Aids Digestion
Pineapples are good for digestion and also soothing the lining of the stomach and intestines. It is loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber, and contains bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down protein and aids digestion.
Pineapple also helps cure intestinal tract infections. Moreover, pineapple juice works as a natural laxative and hence treats constipation.
Enjoy this fruit between meals to facilitate good digestion. Do not eat it in excess though or it may cause gastrointestinal distress.
2. Boosts Immunity
Pineapples are packed with vitamin C, which is vital for proper functioning of the immune system. It protects the body from viruses and increases your resistance to colds, the flu, ear infections and other infectious illnesses.
Vitamin C also works as an antioxidant to protect the body’s cells from free radical damage. Accumulation of free radicals contributes to artery plaque buildup leading to atherosclerosis, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease.
3. Relieves Morning Sickness
Studies have shown that eating pineapple early in the morning can help reduce nausea and vomiting caused by morning sickness. A folk remedy also suggests drinking pineapple juice to alleviate morning sickness.
The nausea-relieving effect can be attributed to its high vitamin and mineral content, especially vitamin B6 that helps relieve pregnancy-induced nausea.
When suffering from morning sickness, eat a bowl of fresh pineapple or drink pineapple juice first thing in the morning.
4. Good for Weight Loss Diets
Pineapple is a great fruit for those on a diet to lose weight because it fills you up and provides energy without adding too many calories. One-half cup of fresh pineapple has less than 60 calories. The fruit has high water content and is loaded with fiber that keeps you feeling full for longer.
You can also create a tincture to facilitate weight loss by cutting a pineapple into chunks, processing it in a meat grinder, pouring it in a mason jar and adding a pint of vodka. Store it in the refrigerator for one week.
Take one tablespoon of this tincture 15 to 20 minutes before eating your meals. Continue until you get encouraging results.
5. Prevents Hypertension
Regular consumption of pineapple also reduces the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure as the fruit is loaded with potassium and low in sodium.
One cup of pineapple contains about one mg of sodium and 195 mg of potassium. Higher levels of potassium help lower blood pressure, whereas higher levels of sodium raise blood pressure.
6. Fights Inflammation
Pineapples contain bromelain that works as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. It fights inflammation associated with issues like tendinitis, sprains, strains and minor muscle injuries, and also helps decrease bruising. Plus, it soothes arthritis as well as gout pain and inflammation.
In addition to eating pineapples, consider taking bromelain supplements as well after consulting your doctor.
7. Promotes Eye Health
Being rich in vitamin A, pineapples are good for maintaining eye health and protecting against macular degeneration, a primary cause of vision loss in elderly people.
A study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology suggests that consuming three or more servings of pineapple daily may lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration by 36 percent compared to those who eat less than 1.5 servings of pineapple per day.
8. Maintains Healthy Bones
Pineapples are a good source of the trace mineral manganese that is essential for bone health. In fact, low levels of manganese have been associated with bone malformation and bone loss leading to low bone density and osteoporosis.
Manganese also protects cells from free radicals, thereby slowing the aging process and preventing chronic diseases including cancer.
A cup of fresh pineapple chunks provides about 75 percent of your daily requirement for manganese.
9. Gives Glowing Skin
Pineapple is excellent for maintaining clear and glowing skin due to its rich vitamin C content that helps repair damaged tissue and promotes skin lightening. Plus, its enzymes promote skin elasticity and elimination of dead skin cells. The antioxidant-rich fruit is also great for anti-aging care.
So, rejuvenate your skin by eating pineapples and also including the fruit pulp and juice in your beauty masks. An easy way to incorporate this fruit in your beauty regimen is to simply rub a piece of pineapple on your face and rinse it off after 15 to 20 minutes.
10. Supports Oral Health
The high vitamin C content in pineapples helps prevent the formation of plaque on the teeth and in turn reduces risk of gum disease. Research shows that lower intake of vitamin C is associated with higher rates of periodontal disease.
Plus, research shows that the bromelain in pineapple works as a natural stain remover. Hence, it helps whiten and brighten your pearly whites.
Acidic foods like pineapple, however, tend to soften the tooth enamel, paving the way for tooth damage. So, make sure you rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice.
To derive the maximum health benefits of this tropical fruit, eat fresh pineapple rather than the canned version as the latter is often packed in syrup.