Research shows pineapples can support digestive health and ease pain from sports injuries

Pineapples are sweet and delicious tropical fruits. A popular ingredient for fruit and green smoothies, studies have also shown that pineapple offers several health benefits, such as supporting digestive health and relieving sports injuries.

Despite their name, pineapples don’t grow on pine or apple trees. In the 17th century, pineapples were named the way they were because, at the time, the term “apple” was applied to unknown fruits. And pineapples looked like pinecones.

Pineapples originated in South America. By the 15th century, the tropical fruit reached Europe and India because sailors found that eating pineapples helped support their overall well-being during their long voyages. There are now over 100 different pineapple varieties sold worldwide, mainly from Costa Rica, Brazil, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Experts think that pineapple’s therapeutic value is mainly due to bromelain. The proteolytic enzyme bromelain is found in different supplements and herbal preparations.

The most important substance in pineapple is bromelain. Bromelain is still being studied for its potential use in other medical applications.

As a proteolytic enzyme, bromelain helps break down the protein molecules in food for optimal absorption and digestion. This characteristic is also linked to other beneficial actions.

Pineapples support brain health

The copper levels in pineapples may help maintain neural pathways in the brain, which then helps support cognitive function.

According to a 2017 study in Iran, pineapple juice positively affected the cognitive ability of memory-impaired mice subjects to recognize objects. The scientists concluded that pineapple has the potential to treat certain cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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Additionally, pineapples may help support mental health by reducing anxiety and improving mood due to tryptophan and magnesium. Both are known to help boost the body’s production of serotonin, the substance that elevates mood.

Pineapples support a healthy heart

Pineapples contain fiber and potassium, which can both support heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Potassium is vital in regulating blood pressure, while fiber helps lower cholesterol levels. (Related: Grapefruit found to help reduce high blood pressure.)

Pineapple antioxidants are flavonoids and phenolic compounds that reduce inflammation and damage from free radicals. The results of a laboratory study on rats revealed that these antioxidants may have heart-protective effects by reducing cardiac oxidative stress and inflammation.

Pineapples support optimal digestive health

Bromelain was first identified in 1891 and has been used as a dietary supplement for gastric upset and inflammation for over 50 years.

Eight proteolytic substances have also been isolated from bromelain. Bromelain therapy is used with pancreatic insufficiency patients who are unable to produce enough digestive enzymes.

Aside from bromelain helping digest the proteins in food, pineapple fiber also contributes to gut mobility and healthy bowel elimination.

Pineapples may help with sports injuries

Bromelain is used for sports injuries and swelling because of its anti-inflammatory effect, especially on the muscles, joints and soft tissue.

One clinical study revealed that, when administered to boxers, bromelain “completely cleared all bruises on the face and hematomas of the orbits, lips, ears, chest, and arms in four days.”

The magnesium in pineapple also helps relieve muscle cramps and fatigue.

Pineapples may help with damaged skin and healing

The first critical step in burn or wound care is to treat the affected area before systemic complications such as inflammation and infection set in. Bromelain gel is typically used to remove as much of the damaged skin as possible so cells can regrow with minimal scarring.

Some studies have suggested that bromelain may reduce bruising, inflammation, swelling and pain after surgery. Bromelain has also been found effective in controlling pain after periodontal surgery.

Some topical skin cosmetics products contain bromelain because it has exfoliation properties that can help remove damaged tissue.

Pineapples can help protect against cancer

Cancer is a chronic disease linked to uncontrolled cell growth. Cancer progression is linked to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

Studies have found that pineapples have cancer-fighting compounds, such as beta-carotene, bromelain, quercetin and vitamin C, that are known to support the immune system and neutralize harmful free radicals, which helps minimize oxidative stress and reduces inflammation.

Research has also found that bromelain can reduce tumor growth, induce cell death, and reduce inflammation.

According to a laboratory study, bromelain was able to suppress the growth of breast cancer cells. Another study also revealed that the compound inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells.

Research is still being conducted to help experts learn more about pineapple’s anti-cancer properties. Some cancer centers also include pineapple in their patients’ daily diets.

Tips for buying and preparing pineapples

Fresh pineapples are imported from warm climates and the fruits are in season during the spring, fall and winter.

Frozen and fresh pineapple are naturally sweet and free of added sugars. You can enjoy frozen pineapple any time of year.

However, some brands of canned pineapple can be high in sugar, especially if the fruit is sold canned or jarred in syrup. Read the ingredients list to see if sugar is added to the brand before buying.

If there aren’t other options, drain the liquid and rinse the fruit to reduce excess sugar.

To reduce the sugar content of the pineapples that you consume, choose pineapple canned or jarred in water or its own juice. You should also choose similar products for fruit cups marketed for children.

If you’re worried about how to cut pineapples, you can also buy it pre-sliced fresh or frozen.

Follow the steps below to cut a whole pineapple:

  1. Chop off the leaves and stem.
  2. Stand the pineapple upright and carefully cut off the peel in vertical strips.
  3. Cut the fruit away from the woody core. You can do this in quarters.
  4. Cut the flesh of the fruit.

You can add fresh pineapples to salads. Chopped pineapple can also be added to cottage cheese, ricotta, or yogurt.

Use frozen pineapples to make refreshing fruit or green smoothies. Bake or grill pineapple rings or add some of the chopped fruit into your favorite soups and stews.

Watch the video below to learn more about the health benefits of Organic Pineapple juice.

This video is from the Health Ranger Store channel on

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