It originated in South America, where early European explorers named it after its resemblance to a pinecone.
This popular fruit is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and other helpful compounds, such as enzymes that can fight inflammation and disease.
Pineapple and its compounds have been linked to many health benefits, including aiding digestion, boosting immunity and speeding up recovery from surgery, among others.
1. Loaded With Nutrients
Pineapples are low in calories but have an incredibly impressive nutrient profile.
One cup (5.8 ounces or 165 grams) of pineapple chunks contains the following:
- Calories: 82.5
- Fat: 1.7 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 21.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.3 grams
- Vitamin C: 131% of the RDI
- Manganese: 76% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDI
- Copper: 9% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 9% of the RDI
- Folate: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 5% of the RDI
- Niacin: 4% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 4% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 3% of the RDI
- Iron: 3% of the RDI
Pineapples also contain trace amounts of vitamins A and K, phosphorus, zinc and calcium.
They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese, providing 131% and 76% of the daily recommendations, respectively.
Vitamin C is essential for growth and development, a healthy immune system and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet. Meanwhile, manganese is a naturally occurring mineral that aids growth, maintains a healthy metabolism and has antioxidant properties.
2. Contains Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Not only are pineapples rich in nutrients, they are also loaded with healthy antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that help your body combat oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a state in which there are too many free radicals in the body. These free radicals interact with the body’s cells and cause damage that is linked to chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system and many harmful diseases
Pineapples are especially rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids.
What’s more, many of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound. This allows the antioxidants to survive harsher conditions in the body and produce longer lasting effects.
3. May Boost Immunity and Suppress Inflammation
Pineapples have been a part of traditional medicine for centuries.
They contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and enzymes like bromelain that may collectively boost immunity and suppress inflammation.
One nine-week study fed 98 healthy children either no pineapple, some pineapple (140g) or lots of pineapple (280g) daily to see if it boosted their immunity.
Children who ate pineapples had a significantly lower risk of both viral and bacterial infections. Also, children who ate the most pineapple had close to four times more disease-fighting white blood cells (granulocytes) than the other two groups.