Pineapple is a tropical fruit with spiky leaves on top and tough leathery skin.
It is a large oval fruit best consumed in hot climates. The fruit is sweet, juicy and yellow. Pineapple is relished as a snack or incorporated into a sweet dessert.
Wondering how this sweet fruit can help the body? Scroll down to know the answers to your questions.
Pineapple’s history is exciting and complex. Pineapples are native to South America. It is referred to as ananas comosus in Latin, which translates to ‘fragrant and excellent fruit’ in Guarani.
This sweet, yellow fruit which is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay, was domesticated by Indians and carried by them up through South and Central America to Mexico and the West Indies long before Europeans arrived. By 1550, the Portuguese had brought the fruit from Brazil to India.
Though it is widely assumed that pineapples originated in Brazil and were only exported to Europe after a century, the name “pineapple” first appeared around the 14th century, long before the fruit was discovered.
After many years, the rest of the world learned about the spiked fruit when the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered it in tropical regions.
True to its name, the outer part of the fruit closely resembles the pine fruit, while the inner portion is juicy, much like an apple.
Nutrition facts on pineapple
The following information is for 100 grammes of pineapple as provided by IFCT, 2017.
- Energy: 43.02 Kcal
- Carbohydrate: 9.42 g
- Protein: 0.52 g
- Fat: 0.16 g
- Dietary fibre: 3.46 g
- Biotin: 1.05 µg
- Folate: 18.21 µg
- Ascorbic acid: 36.37 mg
- Lutein: 8.11 µg
- β-Carotene: 31.21 µg
- Total carotenoids: 86.31 µg
- Magnesium: 12.68 mg
- Manganese: 1.28 mg
- Potassium: 143 mg
- Sodium: 1.43 mg
- Citric acid: 605 mg
Nutritional benefits of pineapple
Pineapple benefits the immune system due to the presence of cell-protecting, collagen-producing vitamin C.
Vitamin C is essential as it promotes growth and healing throughout the body. It aids with everything from wound healing to iron absorption.
Manganese is a crucial mineral that helps the body metabolise food, maintain bone health and clot blood. One cup of pineapple fulfils more than half of the daily manganese requirement of an individual.
Pineapple is high in antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolics and vitamin C.
Antioxidants are found in food that may aid in the fight against inflammation and free radicals in the body.
Excessive inflammation can lead to various diseases such as coronary artery disease, Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Fortunately, eating anti-inflammatory foods like pineapple can help decrease the inflammation in the body.
A study published in Biomedical Reports in September 2016 states that pineapple’s anti-inflammatory properties are due to its bromelain content.
Health benefits of pineapple
Pineapple is high in nutrients and also low in calories, which makes them ideal for weight loss.
Bromelain aids in protein digestion and utilisation, helping a person gain lean body mass. It is also used in the mobilisation of belly fat.
Pineapple possesses both soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps in weight loss by keeping the stomach full for an extended time and inducing a sense of satiety.
Age-related macular degeneration
According to a study, people who ate three or more servings of pineapple per day were 36% less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than those who ate 1.5 servings or less of the fruit per day.
Bromelain in pineapple helps relieve asthma symptoms by breaking down the mucus.
Pineapple can help lower blood pressure as it contains a lot of potassium and helps lower sodium levels in the blood. Counteracting sodium with potassium is an effective way to manage hypertension.
The most abundant chemopreventive compounds in pineapple are bromelain and vitamin C. These play a role in preventing free radical formation, which is linked to cancer development.
Bromelain is a type of digestive enzyme found in pineapple. This enzyme can aid in the breakdown of protein molecules. It is easier for the small intestine to absorb when it is broken down.
A high water and fibre content can also help prevent constipation through improved digestion.
Pineapple contains anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulation agents that can affect the immune system. It may improve implantation by increasing uterine blood flow. Further studies are required to prove the statement.
Along with calcium, the trace mineral manganese is required for strong bones. One of the best sources of minerals is pineapple. Manganese may help prevent osteoporosis and improve the overall bone and mineral density.
If we think that bromelain has rendered enough benefits already, we are wrong. It also helps dissolve blood clots and cholesterol deposits in the arteries, promoting healthy blood flow and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Pineapples are suitable for the skin, but one would have to eat a lot of them to see significant results. To get the best results, pineapple can be taken alongside other skin-loving foods regularly.
Pineapple helps treat acne, has anti-ageing properties, reduces hyperpigmentation, calms inflammation, shields from UV sun radiation, enhances wound healing, reverses mild skin diseases and boosts collagen production.
Side effects of consuming pineapple
Side effects occur when a large amount of the fruit is consumed, or a person becomes allergic to pineapple.
The bromelain enzyme in pineapples causes irritation on the tongue, lips and cheeks after consumption.
However, once the fruit is chewed and swallowed, the saliva and stomach acids overpower it.
In some people, allergic reactions are triggered by pineapple consumption. This may manifest in the form of itches, rashes on the skin and hives.
Being an acidic fruit, pineapple consumption triggers stomach pain and acid reflux. Too much intake of this fruit can cause intolerance and stomach pain.
Gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting are the body’s attempt to eliminate the allergens. So, vomiting is a result of an allergic reaction to pineapple.
Unripe pineapple is harmful to humans and can cause severe diarrhoea. Eating pineapple’s core should be avoided as it causes fibre balls to form in the digestive tract.
Breathing trouble is either due to pineapple allergy or intolerance. The allergy manifests in the form of anaphylaxis, a condition where the throat closes and makes breathing difficult.
How to store pineapple?
Fresh pineapples are highly perishable. Despite the harsh exterior, pineapples overripe easily, ferment and go rotten if left at room temperature for too long. It is recommended to use them within two days if stored at room temperature.
Storing the pineapple at room temperature will increase its acidity but not sweetness.
The whole pineapple can be refrigerated and stored in a perforated plastic bag for three to five days to extend its shelf life.
Once trimmed and cut, pineapples can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for five to seven days.
It is best always to allow the fruit to come back to room temperature before eating it to improve the flavour.
How to prepare pineapple?
A chef’s knife is used to cut a pineapple. The top and bottom part of the pineapple is cut and removed.
The outer layer is peeled off by placing the fruit flat side down on a cutting board. Peel the skin in downward motion, removing them from the entire circumference.
The dark eyes spotted on the pineapple’s surface must also be removed. The fruit can either be chopped into cubes or used after removing the core.
Pineapple is a tropical fruit that provides numerous health benefits in addition to quenching the sweet tooth of an individual.
Being rich in nutrients including vitamin C, manganese, B vitamins and potassium, pineapple boosts immunity, fights cancer and helps in various health conditions.
As with every food, moderate consumption is always recommended to get the best out of the food and prevent side effects. Satisfy the sweet tooth with pineapple!
Is it healthy to eat a pineapple a day?
Yes, consuming pineapple every day defends the body against diseases, boosts metabolism and nourishes the body. But excess intake also has side effects linked to it.
What is the best time to eat pineapple?
To get the most out of pineapple’s digestive health benefits, it is advised to eat it in between meals.
What are the side effects of pineapple?
Skin irritation, itching and rashes occur with pineapple consumption. Excess intake of this fruit results in swelling of the cheeks and mouth, stomach pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and breathing trouble.
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