Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is an incredibly delicious and healthy tropical fruit.
It originated in South America, where early European explorers named it after its resemblance to a pinecone.
This popular fruit is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and other helpful compounds, such as enzymes that can fight inflammation and disease.
Loaded with nutrients
Pineapples are low in calories but have an incredibly impressive nutrient profile.
One cup (5.8 ounces or 165 grams) of pineapple chunks contains the following (2):
Pineapples also contain trace amounts of vitamins A and K, phosphorus, zinc and calcium.
They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese, providing 131% and 76% of the daily recommendations, respectively.
Vitamin C is essential for growth and development, a healthy immune system and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet.
Contains disease-fighting antioxidants
Not only are pineapples rich in nutrients, they are also loaded with healthy antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that help your body combat oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a state in which there are too many free radicals in the body. These free radicals interact with the body’s cells and cause damage that is linked to chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system and many harmful diseases.
Its enzymes can ease digestion
Pineapples contain a group of digestive enzymes known as bromelain (10Trusted Source).
They function as proteases, which break down protein molecules into their building blocks, such as amino acids and small peptides.
Once protein molecules are broken down, they are more easily absorbed across the small intestine. This can be especially helpful for people with pancreatic insufficiency, a condition in which the pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes
Help reduce the risk of cancer
Cancer is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.
Its progression is commonly linked to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
Several studies have shown that pineapple and its compounds reduces the risk of cancers. This is because they minimize oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Boost immunity and suppress inflammation
Pineapples have been a part of traditional medicine for centuries.
They contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and enzymes like bromelain that collectively boost immunity and suppress inflammation.
It ease symptoms of arthritis
There are many types of arthritis, but most of them involve inflammation in the joints.
Since pineapples contain bromelain, which hasanti-inflammatory properties, it’s commonly thought that they may provide pain relief for those with inflammatory arthritis
One study in patients with osteoarthritis found that taking a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain helped relieve pain as effectively as common arthritis medicines like diclofenac.
Speed recovery after surgery or strenuous exercise
Eating pineapples reduce the time it takes to recover from surgery or exercise.
This is largely due to the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain.
Several studies have shown that bromelain reduces the inflammation, swelling, bruising and pain that often occurs after surgery. It also seems to reduce markers of inflammation
Proteases like bromelain are believed to speed up the recovery of damage caused by strenuous exercise by reducing inflammation around the damaged muscle tissue
Delicious and easy to add to the diet
Pineapples are sweet, convenient and easy to incorporate into your diet.
They are very affordable and available year-round in many American markets, as they can be purchased fresh, canned or frozen.
You can enjoy them on their own or in smoothies, salads or on homemade pizzas.
The bottom line
Pineapples are delicious, low in calories and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
Their nutrients and compounds have been linked to impressive health benefits, including improved digestion, a lower risk of cancer, improved immunity, relief of arthritis symptoms and improved recovery after surgery and strenuous exercise.
Pineapples are also incredibly versatile and can be consumed in a variety of ways.
To experience their health benefits, try incorporating pineapples into your diet.