A pineapple is a tropical fruit known for its iconic shape – a sphere of sweet and juicy flesh surrounded by a tough, segmented skin, with a tuft of spiky green leaves on top. The fruit is actually a collection of flowers, each with its own eye that is fused around the centre core, and it takes about three years for just one pineapple to reach full maturation.
Nutritional benefits of pineapple
Pineapples are naturally high in fibre, an important component of a healthy diet that can help improve digestion.
Pineapples also contain a good array of vitamins and minerals including calcium, manganese, plus vitamins A and C, as well as folic acid.
One of the key phytonutrients found in pineapple is bromelain that has long been recognised for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects.
Both fresh and tinned pineapple counts towards your five-a-day target, but if you go for the tinned variety, choose a can with no added sugar or salt. An 80g portion, or one average slice, counts as one of your five-a-day. One 150ml glass of pineapple juice also counts, but be aware that this is high in sugars and can be damaging to teeth. For this reason, one 150ml glass can only count as one portion of your 5-a-day regardless of the amount consumed.
Can pineapple help protect against cardiovascular disease?
Some research has suggested that the bromelain in pineapple may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions such as thrombosis by helping to prevent blood clotting. However, more research is required before a clear link between pineapple and heart health can be established.
Can pineapple improve digestion?
Pineapple is high in fibre, which is important for a healthy digestive system. There has also been some promising initial research into the anti-inflammatory effect of bromelain on ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel condition, both in mice and in human cells, however, more evidence is needed before this benefit can be proven in human studies.
Can pineapples promote healing after injury?
In vitro research (conducted in a test tube) showed promising signs that bromelain may improve wound healing, although any medical use for it is probably still a long way off.
Healthy pineapple recipes
Thai squash & pineapple curry
Pineapple & pink grapefruit with mint sugar
Jerk pork & pineapple skewers with black beans & rice
Frozen fruit sticks with passion fruit & lime drizzle
Sweet & sour chicken & veg
Thai red duck with sticky pineapple rice
Griddled swordfish with pineapple & chilli salsa
Skinny Thai burgers with sweet potato chips & pineapple salsa
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This article was updated on 8 August 2018 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
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