The Health Benefits of Pineapple Will Honestly Surprise You
Whether you gravitate to tropical cocktails that feature pineapple, you enjoy satiating your sweet tooth with the yummy fruit, or you're a fan of trail mixes that include dried pineapple, there are quite a few reasons to keep on consuming the spiky produce. There's even a case for reaching for pineapple when you haven't necessarily been keeping it in your regular grocery shopping rotation. That's because the fruit — which is indigenous to South America and the Caribbean and is also grown in tropical Asia — is versatile and boasts a bevy of health benefits.
"Pineapple is super nutrient-dense and considered a great source of vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber," points out Tanya Mezher, RD, lead functional practitioner at Malla, a functional medicine company. And that's just the beginning. Keep reading for the full breakdown of the nutrition facts and health benefits of pineapple.
Pineapple Nutrition Facts
Here are the basic nutrition facts per 100 grams (2/3 cup) of raw pineapple, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. "It's worth noting that these values can vary depending on factors such as the size and ripeness of the pineapple," Mezher says.
- Calories: 50
- Protein: 0.5 g
- Fat: .1 g
- Carbohydrate: 13.1 g
- Fiber: 1.4 g
- Sugar: 9.9 g
- Vitamin C: 47.8 mg (79% of the Daily Value)
- Manganese: 0.9 mg (45% of the Daily Value)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (4% of the Daily Value)
- Vitamin A: 58 IU (1% of the Daily Value)
Health Benefits of Pineapple
It's easy to fall head over heels for pineapple. "Pineapple is a hydrating and delicious tropical fruit," notes Katie Thomson, RD, cofounder and CEO of Square Baby, an organic baby food company. "Its natural sugars give it a delicious sweet taste while the mild tangy taste adds a refreshing and zesty flavor profile."
She loves just how versatile and accessible pineapple is, given it can be purchased fresh, frozen, or canned. Because it's available year-round, you can use it in a plethora of forms, from fresh to grilled to juiced, in a wide variety of sweet or savory dishes, Thomson says. And there's even more to adore about pineapple, given all its health benefits, including:
Pineapple contains plenty of dietary fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness, notes Thomson. In fact, a one-cup serving of pineapple will cover 10 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake.
Bolstered Gut Health
In addition to offering up a hefty amount of insoluble fiber, which bulks up stool and helps move food through your digestive tract, pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme, meaning it aids in digestion by breaking down protein, Mezher explains. The enzyme has been shown to help tackle bloating and indigestion and has even been studied for its ability to blunt inflammatory bowel disease.
Lowered Risk of Illness and Disease
Pineapple boasts high stores of vitamin C (a 2/3 cup serving offers 79 percent of the Daily Value), an essential nutrient known for its immune-boosting properties, says Mezher. "Vitamin C plays a crucial role in supporting immune function and protecting against oxidative stress," she says. Vitamin C boosts the body's production of B-lymphocyte cells and halts the deterioration of T-lymphocyte cells. Both are antibodies the body uses to pinpoint and fight off pathogens.
Less Risk of Arthritis and Sinusitis
By piling pineapple onto your plate, you may keep achy joints and stuffy noses at bay. That's because, in addition to fighting gut troubles, bromelain's anti-inflammatory effect has been found to alleviate symptoms of arthritis and sinusitis, says Mezher.
Anyone using assisted reproductive technology knows that pineapples are a special symbol for people in the IVF community. The fruit is associated with increased fertility and a positive outcome for people trying to conceive medically. "There is limited scientific evidence to support [this] claim," says Mezher. Still, she notes that like all nutrient-dense foods, pineapple could have a downstream positive effect on reproductive health.
"For example, the anti-inflammatory properties found in bromelain could help reduce inflammation in the lining of the uterus, which can make it difficult for an embryo to implant," notes Mezher. "Additionally, a strong immune system, which vitamin C supports, is important for fertility."
Potential Downsides of Pineapple
There's a reason pineapple shows up in trail mixes and blended cocktails so often. It's nature's candy, which is important to remember as you consider how frequently to reach for it.
"Like most tropical fruits, pineapple is definitely a high-sugar fruit, so it is better to consume in moderation," says Mezher. "That said, consuming sugar from whole fruit is very different than consuming the liquid sugar found in processed foods."
Thomson agrees, noting, "Individuals with diabetes or anyone following a low-sugar diet may need to monitor their pineapple intake." And if you're eating canned pineapple, definitely be sure to read the label, because the fruit may be in its own juices or mixed in with added sugar or syrup, says Thomson.
Some people may experience mouth or skin irritation from consuming pineapple due to bromelain sensitivity, points out Mezher. And because pineapple is also naturally acidic, she adds that consuming large amounts of the fruit or drinking a lot of pineapple juice may lead to acid reflux, heartburn, or irritation in individuals with sensitive stomachs.
So Is Pineapple Good For You?
Whether you want to re-create that beautiful brunch buffet you enjoyed on your honeymoon by adding pineapple to your weekend pancake recipe or are looking for a healthy snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, pineapple is one of your best bets.
Nonetheless, Thomson encourages anyone interested in adding more pineapple to their diet to lean on moderation. "Pineapple has many healthful and immune-boosting nutrients and is the perfect addition to any yogurt, salsa, or your morning smoothie," she acknowledges. "As with any food, moderation and balance is key to a healthy diet."