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What’s better than taking a bite of sweet, juicy pineapple on a hot summer day at a picnic with friends or a cookout with your family? This fruit is great on its own or is the perfect ingredient for treating you and your loved ones to some summer sorbet, a pineapple and mango-based salsa, a tropical fruit smoothie, or a freshly baked pineapple upside cake. However you choose to enjoy pineapple, you’ll be pleased to know that the list of health-related pineapple benefits is as vast is this fruit is juicy.
Pineapple contains many important vitamins and micronutrients. It’s also naturally low in calories and fat. This makes it a delicious snack you can enjoy without breaking the bank on your daily limits, all while helping you get more important antioxidants into your diet. Keep reading to learn more about what happens to your body when you eat pineapple and all this fabulous fruit’s juicy, science-backed benefits. Also, for more healthy eating tips to enable you to pick body-beneficial fruits, be sure to check out 7 Science-Backed Benefits of Blueberries.
A look at the nutrition info for pineapple
Before we dive into all of the potential benefits of eating pineapple, let’s take a look at what’s actually in this sweet, tart, summery fruit. According to the USDA, one cup of raw pineapple contains:
- 82.5 calories
- 21.6 grams of carbs
- 16.3 grams of sugar
- 2.3 grams of fiber
- <1 gram of protein
- <1 gram of fat
- 78.9 milligrams of vitamin C
- 19.8 milligrams of magnesium
- 1.53 milligrams of manganese
- 29.7 micrograms of folate
As you can see, this fruit is low in calories and fat and provides a hefty dose of vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and folate. It’s also fairly high in sugar—but that’s to be expected with most fruit. Thankfully, all of this sugar is completely natural, so you can enjoy a sweet snack without worrying about added sugar. Now, without further ado, here are seven ways pineapple benefits your body.
1. You may have better digestion.
You may not be aware of this fact, but pineapple has been found to help with your digestive health. This is due to an enzyme found in the fruit and stem of pineapple called bromelain.
“Bromelain has so many functions in your body,” says Bess Berger, RDN, CDN, CLT. “It is a digestive enzyme that helps break down foods, specifically protein, and it also helps with the digestion of nutrients.”
According to Rachel Fine, RDN, founder of To The Pointe Nutrition, pineapple’s bromelain and high-fiber content is a winning combination that supports quality digestion.
“The bromelain in pineapple and its fiber are two nutrients that can help with digestion,” says Fine. “Bromelain is a digestive enzyme, and fiber helps to delay the absorption of sugar, resulting in a steadier rise in blood sugar, and ultimately, more sustained energy levels between meals and snacks.”
2. You’ll consume an enzyme that may help with arthritis relief.
Arthritis is a condition in which the joints in your body swell and experience inflammation, which often causes a lot of pain and discomfort. This condition usually occurs in older adults, and sadly there is no cure. Because there’s no cure, treating arthritis is all about reducing discomfort and pain when possible. Interestingly enough, bromelain—the enzyme found in pineapple that also helps with digestion—has been found to help provide arthritis-related pain relief. In fact, according to a study published in Clinical Rheumatology, oral supplementation of bromelain helped relieve arthritis pain after just six weeks in participants.
3. You’ll get a boost of vitamin C.
Everyone knows they need vitamin C, but many people often go straight to oranges or orange juice to get their daily dose. However, what you may not know is that one cup of pineapple has more vitamin C (79 milligrams) than a regular orange (69 milligrams), and almost as much as one cup of orange (96 milligrams). For perspective on just how vitamin-dense pineapple is, the recommended daily value of vitamin C is 75 milligrams for adult women and 90 milligrams for adult men.
“Pineapple is rich in both vitamin C, and this vitamin is great for skin health, collagen production, iron absorption, and several other processes in the body,” says Jesse Feder, RDN, CPT, with My Crohns and Colitis Team. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, and research has found that there could be a link between this vitamin and reduced risk of chronic disease.
4. It can support your immune system.
With the vitamins and nutrients found in pineapple, this fruit has been known to help your body fight off colds or other sicknesses.
“Pineapple can be beneficial in the treatment of colds and coughs due to bromelain, which has substantial anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, at Balance One Supplements. “The mucolytic aspect of bromelain means it is able to break down the mucus, potentially the root cause of the cough, and remove it completely. When mucus isn’t removed, it continues to be an irritant.”
And as previously noted, another pineapple benefit is that it is high in vitamin C, which is a vitamin that can help keep your immune system healthy.
5. It can help you with your weight loss goals.
Another helpful pineapple benefit is its natural sweetness, which enables this fruit to conquer sweet tooth-driven cravings without handing out too many calories or added sugar. This natural sweetness and its high-fiber content make it a perfect snack for your weight loss journey.
“The high amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water, pineapple can help keep you feeling satiated and is a great option for a healthy snack,” says Feder. “This can help prevent you from overeating or snacking too much during the day.”
In fact, a cup of pineapple only has 82 calories, less than one gram of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 16 grams of natural sugars. If you pair this with some high-protein Greek yogurt, you’ll have a complete snack to help you with your weight loss goals.
6. It’s packed with antioxidants.
In addition to containing the antioxidants bromelain, manganese, and vitamin C, pineapple is rich in what is known as flavonoids. This antioxidant is found in many fruits and vegetables that help fight inflammation, viruses, and oxidative stress damage, including kale, berries, citrus fruits, and even red wine. According to a review published in Foods, the antioxidants found in pineapple are known as “bound antioxidants,” which means they are known to produce effects that last even longer than regular antioxidants.
7. You’ll get a hefty dose of manganese.
Manganese is a micronutrient that helps with things like bone health, blood sugar regulation, and disease prevention. For example, one study found that when combined with zinc, copper, and magnesium, manganese helped contribute to improved bone health and a reduced risk of osteoporosis in women. Also, the National Institutes of Health says that your body needs manganese to help break down the sugars in your blood. So, it’s unsurprising that some studies have found that lower levels of manganese were associated with diabetes—a disease directly impacted by blood sugar levels and insulin. Manganese is also a powerful antioxidant that has been found to help reduce the risk of disease by fighting free radical damage.
When you first glance at the fact that one cup of pineapple only contains 1.5 milligrams of manganese, you may assume that it’s not enough to make any sort of dent in your manganese levels. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, the daily recommended amount of this nutrient is only 2.3 milligrams—which means you’re almost there with just one serving of pineapple!