Pineapples are mostly grown in tropical regions and are a very popular delicacy. However, what most people do not know is that pineapples are extremely beneficial for health.
The list of benefits span across their ability to cure a cough, improve respiratory health, assist in weight loss, improve bone strength, prevent cancer, improve eye health, reduce inflammation, improve immunity, and improve oral health.
Pineapples have an impressive nutritional profile. They contain high levels of manganese and vitamin C. They also provide dietary fiber and antioxidants. Apart from this, they are also rich in thiamin, vitamin A, calcium, and potassium.
Despite being sweet, they are remarkably calorie deficient – in fact, one cup of fresh pineapple contains just about 82 calories, which makes it a healthy snack for people conscious about their weight. Pineapples also contain the enzyme bromelain which has several uses in medicine, especially in reducing inflammations, treating ulcerative colitis, preventing pulmonary edema, preventing cancer, and burning fat.
Eating pineapples can provide several health benefits. Some of them are listed as follows:
1. Prevents Coughs and Colds:
Pineapple is abundant in vitamin C and bromelain, both of which fight against microbial infections. Given the fact that both of these substances work in tandem to destroy these microbes, the synergistic effect is extremely potent and helps to prevent diseases like common cold and cough. Bromelain is also associated with a reduction in the amount of phlegm and mucus production. Hence, it helps in preventing diseases associated with the build- up of phlegm and mucus.
When taken in conjunction with medication, it can help speed up the process of recovery.
2. Strengthens Bones:
Since pineapple is not rich in calcium, most people assume that it is not a very good food to strengthen bones. But contrary to popular belief, it can be extremely useful for this purpose. This is because pineapples are an extremely good source of manganese. In fact, one serving of pineapple can provide up to 75% of the daily recommended value. Manganese has been shown to be an important trace mineral in strengthening bones, especially in post-menopausal women.
3. Improves Digestion:
Being a rich source of fiber, pineapples are an excellent aid for digestion. What makes them even more special is the presence of both soluble and insoluble fiber which means that it can help cure a wide range of issues. Constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome can all be cured due to the presence of these fibers.
Fiber helps to bulk up the contents of the stomach which helps to speed up the passage through the intestines. When this happens, the intestine is simultaneously cleansed of old organic matter which helps to prevent infections. It also stimulates the production of gastric juices which help to speed up the process of digestion and improve the absorption capacity of the intestines.
4. Improves cellular health:
The presence of vitamin C in pineapple means that the production of collagen in the body is boosted. Collagen is an essential component of the cell wall, connective tissue, joints, skin, bones, and various organs.
This means that consumption of pineapple helps cells and tissues recover much faster than normal. Added to this, abundant presence of other vitamins and minerals in pineapples accelerates this process further. The presence of vitamin C also helps to heal sore muscles in conjunction with the action of collagen, which means that individuals can recover faster from stress injuries.
5. Prevents Cancer:
Pineapple is a rich source of various antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, bromelain, beta carotenes, and several other flavonoid compounds.
Antioxidants essentially bind to entities known as free radicals. Free radicals are known to oxidize various components of cells and degrade them, which is a major cause of the occurrence of cancer.
It also contains very high quantities of manganese which is a component of superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase is a very efficient free radical scavenger which has been observed to prevent several types of cancer.
Pineapple has been shown to be involved in the prevention of cancers of the breast, throat, and mouth.
6. Improves Oral Health:
Apart from preventing cancer of the mouth and esophagus, pineapple is also an effective astringent. This means that it is capable of strengthening the gums and preventing teeth from becoming loose. Also, the texture of pineapple and the presence of fiber in it means that teeth are automatically cleaned of plaque, resulting in lower chances of infection and halitosis.
The presence of vitamin C and manganese also ensures stronger teeth, cleaner breath, and removal of stains. It is also an effective tool to combat oral infections caused by the growth of harmful bacteria. This results in improved oral health and reduction in bad breath.
7. Reduces Blood Pressure:
Potassium is an essential mineral for general well being of the body. Deficiency of potassium can result in a wide range of disorders and diseases. One of the essential functions which potassium performs is the role of a vasodilator. Vasodilation is the phenomenon of reducing the tension/stress in blood vessels by slightly widening them to increase blood circulation to various parts of the body. When the blood vessels are in a relaxed state, the blood pressure reduces and prevents the occurrence of heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis.
8. Prevents Neurological Conditions:
Pineapples also contain copper, which is an essential mineral involved in several enzymatic reactions and an essential component of several compounds in the body. Copper is directly involved in processes that help to improve cognitive abilities and prevent degradation of neural pathways. Hence, it is essential to prevent conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Copper is also an essential component in the formation of red blood cells (RBCs). Higher RBC count results in improved oxygen supply to various parts of the body, including the brain, which is necessary for its proper functioning.
Pineapples are a major source of bromelain which is essentially a meat-tenderizer. Excessive ingestion might lead to tenderness and increased sensitivity in the lips and mouth.
Apart from this, bromelain is also known to induce menstruation in pregnant women. Excessive amounts of pineapple may cause a miscarriage due to this reason.
Eating unripe pineapple may cause diarrhea and vomiting. Hence, it is advised to avoid eating them when they are unripe.