Health Benefits of Pineapple
Pineapples are low in calories. Nonetheless, it is a storehouse of several unique health promoting compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
A 100 g fruit provides about 50 calories, equivalent to an apple. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, however, it is a rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber like pectin.
Pineapples contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain that digests food by breaking down protein. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that regular pineapple consumption helps fight against arthritis, acute sinusitis, sore throat, indigestion and improves the function of the kidneys.
Pineapples are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is required for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body protect from scurvy, develops resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity), and scavenges harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
Pineapples also contain small amounts of Vitamin A (provides 58 IU per 100 g) and beta-carotene. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin and is essential for vision. Studies have suggested that consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids provide a group of plant metabolites with health benefits through cell signalling pathways and antioxidant effects. These metabolites are found in pineapples and helps the human body protect itself from lung and oral cavity cancers.
In addition, pineapples are rich in the B-complex group of vitamins like folates, thiamine, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like copper, manganese and potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is a helpful co-factor for red blood cell synthesis. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger.