Learn how to enjoy the many health benefits of pineapple and why you should add this superfood to your healthy diet on a regular basis.
Pineapple is much more than a delicious treat; it is loaded with essential nutrients and antioxidants that protect your cells from damage caused by exposure to harmful substances. Bromelain, a mixture of substances found in pineapple, has been shown to reduce inflammation, inhibit tumor growth, and prevent excessive blood clotting when given in therapeutic doses.
Eating this superfood and other fruits may also protect your eyes against macular degeneration, according to a study published in the June 2004 issue of “Archives of Ophthalmology.” The substances found in pineapple also aid in energy production and provide support for the immune system.
Many of the health benefits of pineapple come from its high vitamin C content. Your body uses vitamin C to protect your DNA and other molecules from damage caused by reactive oxygen species and free radicals. You also need vitamin C to produce collagen and enhance iron absorption. Pineapple is an excellent source of manganese, a mineral needed to form strong bones, connective tissue, and sex hormones. Manganese helps regulate your blood sugar level, aids in calcium absorption, and plays a role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Other nutrients found in pineapple include:
- Fiber, critical for digestion and weight loss (for even more fiber, try brazil nuts)
- Folic acid, important for red blood cell production and helps prevent Alzheimer’s
- Pantothenic acid, needed for energy production and fat metabolism
- Vitamin B1, or thiamin is food for the nervous system and reduces risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Vitamin B6, critical for brain health and metabolism of carbs
- Copper, is needed for tissue strength in bones and blood cells
For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015. Eating pineapple and other foods that are fiber rich prevents constipation and may reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health studied 40,000 men for several years. They found that a high-fiber diet was linked to a 40 percent reduction in coronary heart disease risk.
Benefits of Pineapple for Men
“Men’s Health” listed pineapple in a guide to the top forty foods with superpowers because of its “potent mix” of antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. Men and women have an equal risk of developing colon cancer, but men have a higher risk of developing rectal cancer. The risk increases in men who have inflammatory bowel disease. Some of the compounds in pineapple have been shown to ease the inflammation caused by IBD, so adding pineapple to your diet could help you reduce your risk of rectal cancer as you age.
Dr. Laura Hale studied the effects of bromelain on certain immune cells. After the application of bromelain, some molecules came back quickly, but others took time to reappear. Inflammatory bowel disease is linked to an overactive immune system, so her research is very promising for those who have IBD and are concerned about their risk for colorectal cancer.
Benefits of Pineapple for Women
Because pineapple is an excellent source of manganese, experts from the Buffalo Center for Integrative Medicine recommend eating it to help prevent osteoporosis. Approximately 80 percent of Americans with osteoporosis are women, so it is especially important for women to eat foods that help build strong bones.
More than 60 percent of adult women in the United States are overweight, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Pineapple contains just eighty-three calories per one-cup serving, making it a good alternative to high-calorie foods that contain a lot of fat. Pineapple is very versatile, so you can enjoy the weight-related benefits of this fruit by drinking pineapple juice, eating pineapple chunks as a snack, or mixing crushed pineapple with fat-free whipped topping for a delicious dessert.
Benefits of Pineapple Juice
Pineapple juice contains the same nutrients as fresh pineapple, but the amount of each nutrient may differ after the fruit is processed. For example, one cup of pineapple chunks contains 105.1 percent of the RDI for vitamin C, but one cup of juice contains 75 percent of the RDI.
Renowned physician Dr. Oz even recommends pineapple juice as part of a survival kit for women over the age of thirty-five. When discussing the benefits of pineapple juice, Dr. Oz recommended consuming the juice to prevent water retention. This will help you avoid bloating and make it easier to keep your tummy flat.
The benefits of pineapple for weight loss are just one reason to drink the juice of this tasty fruit; there are also some health benefits of pineapple juice for skin. Because vitamin C promotes wound healing and protects the skin against damage caused by exposure to pollutants, drinking pineapple juice can help you get healthy skin without using expensive creams and lotions. Including pineapple in your diet along with carrots and coconut oil you’ll never find yourself complaining about skin issues again.
Selecting and Storing Fresh Pineapple
If you want to enjoy the amazing health benefits of this fruit, it is important to learn how to select and store pineapple safely.
- The leaves at the crown of the pineapple should be green, and the pineapple itself should be firm and not soft or mushy.
- Do not pick a pineapple based on size. Although a larger pineapple will have more fruit inside, it will not necessarily taste better than the fruit of a smaller pineapple.
- The color of a pineapple is not indicative of its ripeness, so focus on choosing a pineapple based on the firmness of the body and color of the leaves around the crown.
If you plan to eat your pineapple right away, it does not need to be refrigerated. If you will not be eating the pineapple within a day or two, put it in your refrigerator.
Nutritious Ways to Enjoy Pineapple
There are many delicious ways to enjoy the benefits of pineapple. It is even possible to enjoy the benefits of pineapple as part of a sweet treat. Fill ice cube trays with pineapple juice so you always have a cold treat on hand.
- For a quick snack, cut fresh pineapple into chunks or rings and enjoy its delicious taste in its natural, raw state.
- Make a colorful snack that even your children will love by alternating pineapple chunks, grapes, fresh strawberries, and other fruits on skewers.
- Chop onions, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and pineapple, and combine them to make a fresh pineapple salsa for burgers, seafood, and chicken.
- Sweeten up main dishes by adding pineapple chunks, pineapple rings, pineapple juice, or crushed pineapple. The fruit pairs particularly well with sweet and sour chicken or baked ham.
- Instead of eating ice pops loaded with sugar, pour unsweetened pineapple juice into freezer pop molds or ice cube trays for a healthy version of the frozen treat.
- Blend fresh pineapple with strawberries and other fruits for a delicious smoothie you can enjoy on the go.
- Grill slices of fresh pineapple until slightly caramelized, and then top with coconut gelato and some fresh shaved coconut curls for a refreshing summertime treat.
Because pineapple is low in calories, feel free to enjoy it several times per week.