Pineapple, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary is a large-sized tropical fruit that has a rough orange or brown skin as well as pointy green leaves on top. This fruit, which has the Latin name Ananas comosus is widely used for culinary purposes all around the world. It has seen appearances as cooking ingredient such as in salads, side condiments, savoury dishes such as in pizzas plus hamburgers, snacks, cocktails such as the pina colada, juices or simply served on its own. In this article, we will learn more about other things related to the pineapple including its 15 health benefits.
Pineapple Growth and Production
The growth and development of pineapples are unique in terms of being grown in soil, not from seeds or trees. Pineapples grow on soil, sourced from its leafy plant. Meanwhile, the plant itself is composed of thick yet slightly pointy leaves whose growth revolve around a central stem. The plant, which will eventually be the pineapples’ leaves later on eventually grows into the shape of a sword, and could be as long as 1.5 m.
In the meantime, the fruits grow downwards inside the soil, revolving around the stem. Pineapples take 24 months or 2 years to grow into a whole fruit at ideal (warm) temperatures or even longer in colder climates.
According to the data by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the top six pineapple producing countries in 2016 were Costa Rica with 2.9 million tonnes, Brazil with 2.7 million tonnes, Philippines with 2.6 million tonnes, Thailand and India with 1.9 million tonnes each, as well as Indonesia with 1.3 million tonnes.
Nutritional Facts of Pineapples
Here are the nutritional facts of pineapples, as sourced from the United States Food and Drugs Administration data.
- Serving Size – 165 grams (1 cup)
- Calories – 82
- Total Fat – 0 g (0% of Daily Value)
- Cholesterol – 0 mg (0% of Daily Value)
- Sodium – 2 mg (0% of Daily Value)
- Potassium – 120 mg (3% of Daily Value)
- Total Carbohydrate – 15 g (5% of Daily Value)
- Dietary Fibre – 2 g (8% of Daily Value)
- Sugars – 11 g
- Protein – 1 g
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin A – 2% of Daily Value
- Vitamin C – 131% of Daily Value
- Calcium – 2% of Daily Value
- Iron – 2% of Daily Value
The daily values (DV) presented are in relation to a 2,000-calorie diet. The amount may change according to the number of calories needed.
What are Health Benefits of Pineapple?
1. Exceptionally High in Vitamin C
Now take a look at the nutritional facts above, the information says that pineapples are composed of vitamins that fulfills much more than the recommended daily value at 131%. This makes the pineapple to be exceptionally rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed by our body as an antioxidant.
2. Provides Support for the Immune System
The immune system can be upkept thanks to pineapple’s more-than-enough vitamin C content. Vitamin C inside pineapples provide support for the immune system by fighting off cell damages caused by free radicals. At the end of the day, a wide range of disease, from the light ones up to chronic ones.
3. Supports Bone Growth as Well
Third, pineapples also support bone growth through the presence of manganese. Aside from calcium, manganese is also important to build strong bones plus connective tissues. While then, manganese inside pineapples account 75% of the recommended daily value. So, apart from drinking milk, it also turns out that consuming pineapples also help to strengthen the bones.
4. Prevents Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is the loss of vision caused by the build up of fat underneath the retina, symptomized by the blurriness of eyesight. Laura Flores, a nutritionist from San Diego, the United States of America quoted that pineapples help reduce the risk of macular degeneration thanks to its vitamin C and antioxidant reserves.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Laura Flores also added that bromelain, which are found on the pineapple’s cores, also help reduce inflammation, cancers and tumours.
6. Promotes a Healthy Digestion
Common to various fruits, vegetables, or other sources of vitamins and minerals, the dietary fibres of pineapples also promote a healthy digestion. Dietary fibres make the intestines as well as digestion healthy yet effective. In addition to dietary fibres, pineapples also contain bromelain that breaks down protein. According to the American Cancer Society, bromelain is possible in enhancing digestion.
7. Reduces the Risk of Blood Clotting
Blood clot is the clumping of red blood cells, which makes its state turn from being liquid to gel-like texture. One famous example of blood clotting is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which happens deep inside the vein of the legs. The bromelain contents of pineapples are also able to prevent this from happening.
8. Heals Common Cold
Common cold can be cured with the help of pineapples, again due to its two most vital compounds; bromelain as well as vitamin C. These two helps removing phlegm, clear the throat and reduce mucus inside the nose. Pineapple in treating cold gets even better if the cold is accompanied by coughing. And the best part of it is that, pineapple as a way for reducing sinus and mucus is absolutely safe for allergic people.
9. They are also Anti-Cancer
The anti-cancer potentials of pineapples are also attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidants. On the other hand, pineapples also contain minerals that help guard the body against cancer, such as manganese, vitamin A, as well as bromelain.
10. Relieves Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma is a condition in which a person’s breathing airways becomes narrow, inflamed, and swell in such a degree that it produces mucus and phlegm, which makes it difficult in breathing. Since asthma is an inflammatory disease, it can be treated using vitamin C, bromelain as well as beta-carotene; all of them which are anti-inflammation present inside pineapples.
11. Regulates Both Blood Circulation and Blood Pressure
Pineapple provides a well-rounded care towards blood health, which covers blood circulation as well as blood pressure. In terms of blood pressure, potassium relaxes the blood arteries to lead a less-restricted flow of blood circulation all over the body. At the end of the day, hypertension can be anticipated at best.
Simultaneously, a good flow of blood circulation can be achieved through copper, which supports the formation of red blood cells.
12. Protects the Heart from Diseases
Heart diseases or cardiovascular diseases are among the most fatal diseases around. Diseases such as strokes, atherosclerosis as well as cardiac arrest can be prevented thanks to potassium inside pineapples that prevent blood clots and accumulation of plaques inside the blood vessels as well as arteries.
13. Improves Skin Quality
Who would ever thought that pineapples are also able to be used as a natural skincare. It is possible because of vitamin C, an antioxidant that maintains and rejuvenates the skin. Vitamin C also leads to the creation of collagen to achieve a healthy skin. Finally, acne, skin damage, wrinkles, and aging are nothing to worry about.
14. Manages Diabetes Well
Diabetes is a series of diseases that happens due to excessive blood glucose content. Pineapples, since they are rich in fibre is deemed extremely safe for diabetics. Indeed, pineapples also provide treatment to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. For type 1 diabetes patients, pineapples help in lowering down blood glucose levels. Whereas in type 2 diabetes, pineapples improve the levels of insulin and blood sugar
15. It Contains Antioxidants that Offer Various Benefits to the Whole Body
In conclusion, the antioxidants of the pineapple, which are mostly in the form of vitamins and minerals offer a holistic care to the body, with each antioxidant having their own specific roles.