Eating pineapples is beneficial for many reasons. Its main advantages over other fruits are its high vitamin C content and the presence of a special enzyme in its composition – bromelain. But, as with any other product, it is important to know when to stop. Otherwise, a number of side effects are possible. We asked experts what are the benefits of pineapple for the body, how to choose the right fruit and what can be cooked with it.
- What is this
- Calorie content
- How to choose
Angela Davidyan, nutritionist at the Life Med Center clinic, specialist in integrative nutrition;
Daniil Gladskikh, brand chef of the service for the production and delivery of ready-made food rations Grow Food.
What is pineapple
Despite its pronounced sweetness, pineapple can be included in diet food
Pineapple is an oval-shaped tropical fruit with a characteristic thick and jagged skin. Inside the fruit there is juicy and yellow pulp with a sweet and sour taste. In botany, pineapple is classified as a herbaceous plant, and it grows on small bushes (1).
The homeland of pineapples is South America. The scientific name Ananas comosus literally means “fragrant and excellent fruit” in the Indian language (2). Pineapples were brought to Europe during the time of Christopher Columbus, and for a long time the fruit was considered a symbol of wealth, hospitality, and even a sinful delicacy.
Despite the fact that pineapples love hot tropical climates, today they are grown even where it is cold. This is done in greenhouses and greenhouses. For example, in Europe there is a small farm for growing pineapples on the territory of the Valaam Monastery.
Pineapple calorie content and composition
Pineapples are rich in antioxidants
Pineapple is a source of vitamin C and other nutrients such as copper and manganese. There are practically no proteins and fats in this fruit. Composition of a 100 g serving of pineapple (3):
- energy value – 50 kcal;
- fats – 0.12 g;
- proteins – 0.54 g;
- carbohydrates – 13 g;
- sugar – 9.8 g;
- fiber – 1.4 g;
- vitamin C – 47.8 mg.
Pineapple is a fruit with a medium glycemic index (4). This means that in moderate amounts it is not contraindicated in people with diabetes (5). Pineapple also contains bromelain, a natural group of enzymes that help break down proteins (6).
Benefits of pineapple: 5 properties
Pineapple contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals that help boost immunity
The main benefits of pineapple for the body are associated with its high content of vitamins and bromelain. In addition, it is a fruit with a lot of water (up to 85% of the composition).
1. Reduces inflammation
Bromelain is a complex of highly active enzymes that have anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to have decongestant and analgesic effects, and also improve tissue repair after injury. Another element in pineapple that is responsible for reducing inflammation is vitamin C. It acts as an antioxidant, preventing free radical damage.
2. Protects against infections
Pineapple contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals that help boost immunity. Eating pineapple may also reduce the risk of viral and bacterial infections (7). An experiment with schoolchildren showed that the group that ate pineapples regularly got sick with ARVI less often, and if they got sick, they recovered faster. It has also been proven that bromelain, which is found in pineapple, has a positive effect on sinusitis. In particular, it relieves inflammation of the nasal sinuses and facilitates breathing during exacerbations (8).
3. Improves digestion
Pineapples are a source of fiber, which is important for a healthy digestive system. These fibers regulate intestinal motility and reduce the risk of digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea. In addition, fiber has a positive effect on the gut microbiome, reducing inflammation, including chronic inflammation (9).
4. Supports healthy skin
The high vitamin C content in pineapple helps the body produce collagen. This protein plays an important role in the beauty and maintenance of skin elasticity, as well as in wound healing. The bromelain found in pineapple is beneficial for addressing specific skin problems such as fine lines and wrinkles and acne. A pineapple-based cosmetic product has been shown to be effective in combating bacteria that cause acne (10).
5. Strengthens bones and tissues
Vitamin C, which is rich in pineapple, stimulates the production of bone cells. It also provides higher bone mass density. In one study, people who included vitamin C in their diet had a lower risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures (11). In addition, pineapple contains manganese. This mineral is also essential for the formation of healthy cartilage and joints.
Pineapples are healthy in moderation; in rare cases, some people may have to avoid them altogether.
Excessive consumption of pineapples may cause side effects. All of them are mainly associated with the high content of bromelain, vitamin C and natural acids. The optimal portion for adults is 200 g per day; for children, pineapple is introduced into the diet in consultation with the pediatrician. Side effects from pineapple:
- May cause allergies. Cases have been described in which pineapples provoked an allergic reaction, including the most severe – anaphylaxis (12). Patients complained of severe itching, rashes, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. For most, symptoms appeared within half an hour after eating pineapple.
- Irritates the intestines. The high content of free organic acids (1.4%) in pineapple has an irritating effect on the mucous membrane of the digestive tract. Therefore, people prone to gastritis with high acidity should be especially careful with this fruit.
- Causes caries. The natural sugars and acids in pineapple can damage your teeth. Sugar remaining on their surface promotes the development of bacteria, which thins the enamel, making teeth more susceptible to tooth decay. The acid contained in pineapple pulp also softens the enamel and leads to its erosion (13). As a preventative measure, after eating pineapple you should rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth.
Can I drink freshly squeezed pineapple juice?
To avoid a shock dose of fructose, you can take 100 ml of juice and the same amount of water, the nutritionist advises
Pineapple contains a large amount of ascorbic acid, which enhances the absorption of iron, explains Angela Davidyan. Therefore, it would be right to wash down an omelet with spinach or a meat dish with pineapple juice. “Drinking 300 ml of freshly squeezed juice, we receive a loading dose of fructose that we do not need. I would advise taking 100 ml of juice and 100 ml of water,” says the nutritionist.
It is not recommended to eat pineapple, like other fruits, on an empty stomach. It’s better to add it to a salad or eat it for dessert.
Can children drink pineapple juice?
Pediatricians do not recommend including any juices in the diet of children under eight months of age (14). Particular care should be taken with packaged drinks that contain added sugar. It should also be remembered that organic acids in juices, including pineapple, can irritate the immature mucous membrane of the intestines and stomach. This will lead to symptoms such as regurgitation or…