Pineapples may be a funny-looking item, but this delicious tropical fruit is loved by many for its distinct and unique taste, and its miraculous health attributes. The medicinal benefits of pineapples are vast, and include the ability to cure coughs and colds, improve respiratory health, aid digestion & weight loss, strengthen bones, improve oral health, boost eye health, reduce inflammation, prevent cancer, increase heart health, fight off infections and parasites, improve the immune system, and increase circulation.
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has always been associated with a reduced risk of many health conditions. Many studies have show that increasing consumption of plant foods like pineapples decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease, all while they promote a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
Health Benefits of Pineapples
Pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C, to help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Diets rich in beta-carotene plays a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition and has been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.
In addition to the vitamin C & beta carotene levels, pineapple is also rich in various other antioxidants. These include vitamin A, bromelain, various flavonoid compounds, and high levels of manganese that further benefit in the battle against cancer, and has directly been related to preventing cancers of the mouth, throat, and breast. The fiber content also lowers the risk of colon cancer.
Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium pineapple provides about 13 grams of fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.
Because pineapples are such a rich source of fiber, but they are also excellent because they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. This means that eating a healthy amount of pineapples can protect you from numerous health conditions, including constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, atherosclerosis and blood clotting, as well as blood pressure.
Fiber can bulk up stool, which promotes the passage of food through the digestive tract at a normal rate, and also stimulates the release of gastric and digestive juices to help food dissolve. It bulks up loose stool, which helps with diarrhea and IBS, and cleans the blood vessels of excess cholesterol, then eliminates it from the body, to boost cardiovascular health.
The fiber, potassium and vitamin C content in pineapple all support heart health. In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, when compared to those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against the loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and the reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Pineapples are a valuable source potassium which is one of the most important minerals in our body, and a potassium deficiency can result in a wide array of health hazards. One of the most important functions of potassium is as a vasodilator, that means it eases the tension and stress of the blood vessels and promotes blood circulation. When your blood vessels relax, your blood pressure is reduced and the flow of blood is less restricted. This can prevent clots from blocking the flow of blood and reduces the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and vessels. This helps people prevent conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation.
In a related benefit to the vasodilating potential of potassium, pineapples also provide the body with copper, which is a necessary element for the formation of healthy red blood cells. High red blood cell count increases oxygenation to various organ systems, helping them function at optimal levels. It also increases cognitive abilities to prevent neural disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Healing & Inflammation
Studies have shown that the bromelain in pineapples can reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, along with pain associated with injury and surgical intervention. One of the most celebrated uses of pineapple in terms of health, is its ability of bromelain to reduce the inflammation of joints and muscles, particularly associated with arthritis. Bromelain is also currently being used to treat and reduce inflammation from tendinitis, sprains, strains, and other minor muscle injuries as well as swelling related to ear, nose and throat surgeries or trauma.
Boosts Immune System
A single serving of pineapple has more than 130% of the daily requirement of vitamin-C, which is mainly associated with reducing illness and boosting the immune system. It stimulates the activity of white blood cells and acts as an antioxidant to defend against the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous ones.
The normal immune system boosting power of vitamin C is well known, but bromelain is also connected with the reduction of phlegm and mucus build up in the respiratory tracts and sinus cavities. It therefore prevents the illnesses that cause phlegm and mucus build-up, while also treating them by loosening those materials and eliminating them from the body if you contract an illness or infection.
Provides Bone Health & Beautiful Skin
Although pineapples are not famous for having a large calcium content, which most associate with bone health, it does have an impressive amount of manganese, a trace mineral that is essential in strengthening bones, as well as their growth and repair. Manganese is the most prominent mineral in pineapple, and a single serving can deliver more than 70% of your daily requirement.
The vitamin C, when eaten or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. This is because Vitamin C also plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, which is the support system of the skin. Collagen is also the essential protein base of blood vessel walls, skin, organs, and bones. High vitamin C content helps heal wounds and injuries quickly, along with defending against infections and illness.
Better Oral Health
Along with the antioxidant compounds that protect against oral cancer, pineapples also have astringent properties, that strengthen the gums. This helps make sure that your teeth do not become loose. Astringent agents help to tighten up tissues and tone the body so things like tooth loss, hair loss, and muscle weakness or skin loosening does not occur.
Vision is one of the most important senses for humans, and pineapples have been directly connected to boosting eye health and preventing the age-related deficiencies. Macular degeneration affects many elderly people, and beta carotene helps delay these vision problem. Keeping proper amounts of beta-carotene in your diet from fruits and vegetables is essential if you want to properly see the world well into your old age.
The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of beta-carotene, found in plant foods like pineapple, mangoes, papaya, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin and carrots.
Antioxidant-rich diets have been shown to improve fertility. Because free radicals can damage the reproductive system, foods with high antioxidant activity like pineapples, are recommended for those trying to conceive. The antioxidants in pineapple have properties that positively impact both male and female fertility.
A Few Words of Warning
These benefits are impressive, but there is always something about foods that should be cautioned against, and pineapples are no exception. The bromelain in pineapples is primarily a meat-tenderizing enzyme, which is why it is so helpful in the digestion of tough foods.
This can result in the softening or tenderness of your “meat” as well, meaning that your lips, gums, and tongue might experience some tenderness or sensitivity if you eat too much pineapple. Bromelain is a powerful chemical, as is vitamin C, if taken in excess, so be aware that both of these items come in high proportions, and an “overdose” can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and nausea.
Also, bromelain has been known to stimulate menstruation, so pregnant women should avoid excessive pineapple, as the high levels of bromelain can actually lead to a miscarriage in rare cases.
How to Select The Perfect Pineapple
Select a pineapple with a firm, plump body without bruising or soft spots and green leaves at the crown. A green outer shell does not mean the pineapple is not ripe and neither does the ease in which the leaves pull from the crown. Pineapples should be picked at their peak ripeness since unlike other fruits, they will not continue to ripen once picked. Whole or cut pineapple should be stored in the refrigerator.
At A Glance Guide Of The Benefits Of Pineapple