Check out the health benefits of eating pineapple and how the fruit can help the heart, eyes, bones, immune system, and more.
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What Are Pineapples?
Pineapples are large, oval fruits that grow in tropical areas. They’re native to the Caribbean, as well as Central and South America.
The pineapple plant has long, spiky leaves and grows to about 3 to 5 feet tall. Each plant grows one pineapple.
In the supermarket, fresh pineapple is sold whole or pre-cut. It’s also available frozen.
Both versions add a sweet, tart taste and bright color in homemade smoothies.
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12 Pineapple Health Benefits
1. Enhances Feeling of Fullness
As a source of fiber, pineapple will make your smoothies more filling. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that’s essential for good health.
When you eat pineapple, the fiber moves slowly through your body. This increases the sensation of satiety, or fullness.
The fiber in pineapple also boosts the production of satiety hormones. These are chemical messengers that promote the feeling of fullness.
This pineapple health benefit is helpful if you want to control your appetite throughout the day.
2. Supports Gut Health
Eating enough fiber is key for a healthy and balanced gut. But most people in the U.S. don’t eat enough.
By adding pineapple to your smoothies, you can increase your fiber intake and support gut health. The nutrient will help promote regular bowel movements.
Additionally, as a high-fiber food, pineapple is a prebiotic. This means it provides food for the bacteria in your gut.
The result is a more balanced gut, which reduces digestive issues and promotes better intestinal health.
3. Helps Digest Nutrients
Pineapple contains bromelain, a group of enzymes that break down proteins. This aids the digestion of food.
An enzyme is a molecule that triggers chemical reactions. In this case, bromelain promotes reactions that change the structure of protein.
It breaks down protein into smaller compounds called amino acids. This way, your body can better process and absorb the protein.
You can buy bromelain on its own in the form of pills. But eating fresh pineapple is a good way to get it naturally.
4. Lowers Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress happens when molecules called free radicals damage cells. This can lead to chronic illness, like cancer or heart disease.
Pineapple can reduce oxidative stress because it’s high in antioxidants. These are molecules that destroy free radicals.
For example, pineapple is rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient with powerful antioxidant properties.
Even the bromelain in pineapple has antioxidant effects, making it an important nutrient in pineapple.
5. Reduces Inflammation
For a natural way to combat inflammation, add more pineapple to your diet. The bromelain in the fruit has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, bromelain has been shown to work against inflammatory conditions, including arthritis and asthma.
Plus, as pineapple antioxidants decrease oxidative stress, it also fights inflammation. That’s because oxidative stress increases inflammation, and vice versa.
Pineapple also lowers inflammation through its digestive benefits. It balances the gut, which is key for managing inflammation throughout the body.
6. Improves Immune Function
Its high content of vitamin C makes pineapple good for immune system. Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient for immunity.
In the body, vitamin C collects in immune cells. They help these cells find and destroy germs that cause sickness.
Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant, as it protects cells from damage. This can help prevent illness.
Without enough vitamin C, the immune system will have a harder time fighting off germs. Eating pineapple is a natural, tasty way to get enough.
7. Enhances Iron Absorption
As a vitamin C-rich fruit, pineapple can help the body absorb iron better. Iron is a mineral required for healthy blood.
Specifically, it ensures your red blood cells can bring oxygen to all your tissues and organs. Otherwise, you will feel tired and fatigued.
Vitamin C improves absorption by changing the structure of iron. It makes it more bioavailable, or easier for the body to absorb.
To get the most out of this pineapple health benefit, pair the fruit with spinach, a high-iron food.
8. Promotes Strong Bones
Pineapple contains minerals needed for healthy ones, including calcium and magnesium.
Calcium makes bones strong and sturdy. In fact, about 99% of the body’s calcium is found in the bones.
It’s important to get enough calcium from food. Otherwise, your body will take calcium from the bones in order to meet its needs. This can cause bone issues over time.
Additionally, pineapple is a source of magnesium. It gives structure to the bone, just like calcium.
9. Improves Skin Health
The vitamin C in pineapple is good for the skin. It’s needed to make collagen, the most common protein in the body.
Collagen gives the skin structure and support. The body makes less collagen over time, leading to wrinkles and sagging.
Eating pineapple could increase your vitamin C levels, potentially helping collagen production.
Vitamin C also helps skin cells repair after you get hurt, ensuring proper wound healing. This is key for keeping bad germs out of the body.
10. Provides Hydration
Your body needs water for many basic functions, including digestion, metabolism, and temperature control.
Water is also necessary for protecting your organs and removing wastes from the body.
Fruit, including pineapple, is a great source of fluids. It’s made of 80 to 89% water, making it helpful for increasing hydration.
Plus, pineapple contains electrolytes, which are ensure your cells get enough fluids. Examples include calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
11. Protects the Heart
Pineapple is a heart-friendly food. It prevents certain reactions that can be harmful to your heart.
Fiber, which is found in pineapple, is good for lowering cholesterol. It works by reducing blood cholesterol.
This is key because high blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. So managing it is important for a healthy heart.
The bromelain in pineapple can also break down plaques of cholesterol. Otherwise, these plaques can block blood flow, decreasing how much blood the heart receives.
12. Aids Exercise Recovery
If you want to give your post-workout smoothies a boost, add pineapple. The fruit is high in nutrients that help exercise recovery.
The antioxidants in pineapple plays a big role. They combat oxidative stress, one of the main reasons your muscles feel sore after physical activity.
This includes vitamin C, which is found in high amounts in pineapple. Other antioxidants include flavonoids and phenolic acid.
Pineapple also supports recovery by hydrating the body, as it’s so rich in water. Hydrating after exercise is key for reducing muscle soreness.
Some people are allergic to the bromelain in pineapple. It can cause uncomfortable symptoms in the mouth, like burning or irritation.
The acidity of pineapple could cause similar symptoms too. If you’re sensitive to acidic food, you might need to eat pineapple in small amounts or avoid it completely.
Buy pineapples with green leaves.
When buying fresh, whole pineapple, always choose fruits with bright green leaves. The rind should also be green-yellow.
Skip pineapples with that are soft or discolored.
Cut into cubes before freezing.
To freeze pineapple for smoothies, cut it into cubes first. Your blender will be able to puree smaller pieces better.
If your blender is high-powered, you can cut the pineapple into wedges.
Store in an air-tight container.
Keep cut fresh pineapple in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Try to use it within 5 to 7 days.
When freezing pineapple, store it in an air-tight freezer-safe bag.