A great summer snack, pineapple is an often-overlooked fruit in most grocery stores.
There are a lot of misconceptions about this sweet yellow food and the health benefits of it are lesser-known still, but certainly not insignificant.
This exotic fruit, popular in desserts like fruit salad, pineapple cake, and chocolate fondue, has also been used for centuries in Central and South America to treat inflammation and digestive problems.
It’s The Only Source of Bromelain (Powerful Enzyme)
Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, and even contains calcium and iron. One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains 2.3 grams of fibre and 1 gram of protein, and best of all, only 2 milligrams of sodium.
But the real nutrient that makes pineapple such a powerhouse is an enzyme called bromelain, which has been studied for it’s effectiveness in relieving joint pain(1) and reducing inflammation associated with arthritis(2).
Pineapple is the only known dietary source of bromelain(3), which can also help digestion by breaking down protein during the digestive process. Bromelain has a wide range of therapeutic uses(4), from treating bronchitis and sinusitis to helping patients recover from surgical traumas. It can also inhibit the growth of mammary tumour cells(5), making it not only a useful enzyme but possibly a life saving one as well.
Other Health Benefits of Pineapple
Its high potassium levels make it a great food to eat if you’re looking to lower your blood pressure; studies have also shown that those who consume large amounts of beta-carotene, which is found in pineapple, are at lower risk for developing asthma. And of course there’s the power of vitamin C, to not only boost your immune system but to help decrease your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration(6).
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the key to a healthy life; obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are all health conditions on the rise, especially in the developed world. Making pineapple and other fresh fruits and veggies part of your diet can not only decrease your risk of developing these diseases but can also have a positive impact on your appearance, too – a healthier complexion and stronger hair and nails are just some of the side effects of a diet rich in fresh fruits and veggies.
Incorporating pineapple into your diet doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It can be as simple as keeping a bowl of freshly prepared fruit accessible in your refrigerator, adding pineapple to your salad at lunch or dinner, or putting pineapple in your favourite kebabs – it pairs nicely with shrimp, chicken, and steak.