Pineapples Are a Superfood: 7 Reasons Why

Pineapples Are a Superfood: 7 Reasons Why

Justin Lewis
Justin Lewis

About 5 years ago I bought 6 pineapples at a market to make jam with. Ever since I’ve been planting the tops and multiplying them into a small army of pineapples. This year I’ll be harvesting at least 28 of them! Turns out, they are super easy they are to grow in warmer climates (like Florida).

As popular as pineapples are for being delicious, they are rarely referred to as a healthy food... but here’s 7 reasons you should seriously consider adding more pineapple to your diet!

7. They help with recovery

Pineapples contain an anti-inflammatory compound called bromelain. This molecule is more highly concentrated in its core, and it is often extracted for various uses.

Several studies note that this property makes it useful in speeding up recovery of damaged muscles after strenuous exercise (Sources: 1, 2, 3). It was also shown to help the body heal gunshot wounds and to have comparable effects as commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs taken post-surgery, helping reduce bruising and pain associated with inflammation (Sources: 1, 2).

6. They help with digestion

Bromelain functions as a digestive enzyme, helping the body break down complex proteins into amino acids and peptides the body can use for repairing damaged cells. Because of its ability to do this, bromelain extract it is used extensively for commercial meat tenderization.

According to multiple studies, this makes it very helpful for people suffering from pancreatic insufficiency — a condition where the body doesn’t make enough digestive enzymes (Sources:  1, 2, 3).

5. The suppress inflammation and boost immunity

Pineapples have been used in traditional medicine for many centuries, especially in South American, China, and South-East Asia: they contain many minerals and vitamins in addition to bromelain.

One study showed children recovered significantly faster from sinus infections when taking a bromelain supplement. Another showed children eating pineapples had significantly fewer bacterial and viral infections and had 4 times the number of granulocytes (a type of white blood cell that fights disease) than children who didn’t eat pineapple.

4. They are nutritious

One of the reasons pineapples are good at preventing sickness is due to the vitamins and minerals they contain. In one 165g / 5.8oz serving one finds the following of the recommended daily intake:

  • Vitamin C: 131 %
  • Manganese: 76%
  • Copper: 9%
  • Vitamin B6: 9%
  • Thiamin: 9%
  • Folate: 7%
  • Magnesium: 5%
  • Potassium: 5%
  • Pantothenic acid: 4%
  • Niacin: 4%
  • Iron: 3%
  • Riboflavin: 3%
  • Trace amounts of vitamin A, K, Zinc, Calcium

3. They help with arthritis

Although more long-term research is needed, it’s been known since the 1960s that bromelain is effective in relieving symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

More recent research has pointed out its potential in relieving symptoms of osteo-arthritis in the short term, with one finding that taking digestive supplements containing bromelain could be considered as a safe, effective alternative to prescription arthritis medicine dicofenac.

2. They are loaded with antioxidants

The body uses antioxidants to neutralize free radicals caused by oxidative stress which can lead to a weakened immune system, chronic inflammation, heart disease, and age-related diseases like cancer.

Fortunately for pineapple lovers, pineapples are loaded with healthy antioxidants like phenolic acids and flavonoids. Several of them are even bound within an insoluble matrix which keeps them from getting broken down by stomach acid until they can be delivered to where they are needed in the body.

1. They have anti-cancer properties

Due to their ability to help mitigate oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which are often related to cancer, compounds like bromelain found in pineapples may be able to reduce the risk of certain cancers according to research.

Two studies determined bromelain had antiproliferative, proapoptotic (triggering cell death) in colorectal carcinoma, in addition to having chemoprotective properties (Sources: 1, 2). Another two studies done on cells in test tubes showed bromelain also stimulates breast cancer cell death and suppresses its growth (Sources: 1, 2).

Further studies show bromelain’s effectiveness at helping the body block the activation of factors associated with skin tumor initiation by triggering mitochondrial death in the cancerous cells. Other research which shows promise includes an extensive study on gastro-intestinal cancers and mesothelioma, and in stimulating the immune system to make more white blood cells for fighting cancer.

Keep in mind

Bromelain found in pineapples is the compound behind the majority of the health effects mentioned above, but it is not the only one. Bromelain is concentrated at the core of the fruit, which is often, sadly, discarded. Pineapple contains significantly less bromelain than most supplements.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not intended as medical advice to cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Research is ongoing into the benefits found within pineapples, and as always, consult with a medical professional before taking any supplement.

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