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Pineapple Juice: 7 Emerging Health Benefits

Health + Wellness
Pineapple Juice: 7 Emerging Health Benefits
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By Alina Petre, MS, RD (NL)

Pineapple juice is a popular tropical beverage.

It's made from pineapple fruit, which is native to countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, India, China, and the Philippines.


Many cultures use the fruit and its juices as a traditional folk remedy to treat or prevent various ailments.

Modern research has linked pineapple juice and its compounds to health benefits, such as improved digestion and heart health, reduced inflammation, and perhaps even some protection against cancer. However, not all evidence has been conclusive.

Here are 7 science-based benefits of pineapple juice, based on the current research.

1. Rich in Nutrients 

Pineapple juice provides a concentrated dose of various nutrients. One cup (240 mL) contains around:

  • Calories: 132
  • Protein: less than 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbs: 33 grams
  • Sugars: 25 grams
  • Fiber: less than 1 gram
  • Manganese: 55% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Copper: 19% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 14% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 12% of the DV
  • Folate: 11% of the DV
  • Potassium: 7% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 7% of the DV

Pineapple juice is particularly rich in manganese, copper, and vitamins B6 and C. These nutrients play an important role in bone health, immunity, wound healing, energy production, and tissue synthesis.

It also contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, choline, and vitamin K, as well as various B vitamins.

Summary

Pineapple juice is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. It's especially packed with manganese, copper, vitamin B6, and vitamin C — all of which play important roles in the proper functioning of your body.

2. Contains Additional Beneficial Compounds

In addition to being rich in vitamins and minerals, pineapple juice is a good source of antioxidants, which are beneficial plant compounds that help keep your body healthy.

Antioxidants help neutralize unstable compounds known as free radicals, which can build up in your body due to factors like pollution, stress, or an unhealthy diet and cause cell damage.

Experts believe that the antioxidants in pineapple juice, particularly vitamin C, beta carotene, and various flavonoids, are in large part to thank for its potential beneficial effects.

Pineapple juice also contains bromelain, a group of enzymes linked to health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, improved digestion, and stronger immunity.

Summary

Pineapple juice is rich in antioxidants, which help protect your body from damage and disease. It also contains bromelain, a group of enzymes that may reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and boost immunity.

3. May Suppress Inflammation

Pineapple juice may help reduce inflammation, which is believed to be the root cause of many chronic diseases.

This may largely be due to its bromelain content. Some research suggests that this compound may be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — but with fewer side effects.

In Europe, bromelain is approved for use to reduce inflammation caused by trauma or surgery, as well as to treat surgical wounds or deep burns.

In addition, there's evidence that ingesting bromelain before surgery may help reduce the level of inflammation and pain caused by surgery.

Some studies further suggest that bromelain may help reduce pain and inflammation caused by a sports injury, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis of the knee.

That said, research has yet to test the direct effects of pineapple juice on inflammation.

Therefore, it's unclear whether the bromelain intakes achieved through drinking small to moderate amounts of pineapple juice would provide the same anti-inflammatory benefits as those observed in these studies.

Summary

Pineapple juice contains bromelain, a group of enzymes that may help reduce inflammation caused by trauma, injuries, surgery, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis. However, more juice-specific studies are needed.

4. May Boost Your Immunity 

Pineapple juice may contribute to a stronger immune system.

Test-tube studies suggest that bromelain, a mixture of enzymes naturally found in pineapple juice, may activate the immune system.

Bromelain may also improve recovery from infections, such as pneumonia, sinusitis, and bronchitis, especially when used in combination with antibiotics.

However, most of these studies are dated, and none have examined the immunity-boosting effects of pineapple juice in humans. Therefore, more research is needed to confirm these results.

Summary

Some research suggests that pineapple juice may contribute to a stronger immune system. It may also help increase the effectiveness of antibiotics. However, more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.

5. May Help Your Digestion

The enzymes in pineapple juice function as proteases. Proteases help break down protein into smaller subunits, such as amino acids and small peptides, which can then be more easily absorbed in your gut.

Bromelain, a group of enzymes in pineapple juice, may particularly help improve digestion in people whose pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes — a medical condition known as pancreatic insufficiency.

Animal research suggests that bromelain may also help protect your gut from harmful, diarrhea-causing bacteria, such as E. coli and V. cholera.

Moreover, according to some test-tube research, bromelain may help reduce gut inflammation in people with inflammatory bowel disorders, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

That said, most studies have investigated the effect of concentrated doses of bromelain, rather than that of pineapple juice, and very few were conducted in humans. Therefore, more research is needed.

Summary

The bromelain in pineapple juice may aid digestion, guard against harmful, diarrhea-causing bacteria, and reduce inflammation in people with inflammatory bowel disorders. However, more research is needed.

6. May Promote Heart Health

The bromelain naturally found in pineapple juice may also benefit your heart.

Test-tube and animal studies suggest that bromelain may help reduce high blood pressure, prevent the formation of blood clots, and minimize the severity of angina pectoris and transient ischemic attacks — two health conditions caused by heart disease.

However, the number of studies is limited, and none are specific to pineapple juice. Therefore, more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.

Summary

Some research links the bromelain naturally found in pineapple juice to markers of improved heart health. However, more pineapple-juice-specific studies are needed.

7. May Help Fight Certain Types of Cancer

Pineapple juice may have potential cancer-fighting effects. Again, this is likely in large part due to its bromelain content.

Some studies suggest that bromelain may help prevent the formation of tumors, reduce their size, or even cause the death of cancerous cells.

However, these were test-tube studies using concentrated amounts of bromelain that were much higher than those you'd ingest from drinking a glass of pineapple juice. This makes it difficult to project their results to humans.

Therefore, more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.

Summary

Test-tube studies suggest that concentrated amounts of bromelain may help protect against cancer. However, it's currently unclear whether pineapple juice offers similar benefits in humans.

Possible Precautions

Pineapple juice is generally considered safe for most people.

That said, bromelain, a group of enzymes naturally found in pineapple juice, may enhance the absorption of certain drugs, especially antibiotics and blood thinners.

As such, if you are taking medications, consult your physician or registered dietitian to make sure it's safe to consume pineapple juice.

This beverage's acidity may also trigger heartburn or reflux in some people. Specifically, those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may want to avoid consuming large amounts of this beverage.

Despite its potential benefits, it's important to remember that pineapple juice remains low in fiber yet high in sugar.

This means it's unlikely to fill you up as much as eating the same quantity of raw pineapple would. Therefore, it may promote weight gain in some people.

What's more, while drinking small amounts of juice has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, drinking more than 5 ounces (150 mL) per day may have the opposite effect.

Therefore, it's likely best to avoid drinking too much pineapple juice, and when you do, stick to 100% pure varieties that are free of added sugars.

Summary

Pineapple juice is low in fiber yet rich in sugar, and drinking too much may lead to weight gain or disease. This beverage may also interact with medications and trigger heartburn or reflux in some people.

The Bottom Line

Pineapple juice contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds that may protect you from disease.

Studies link this beverage to improved digestion, heart health, and immunity. Pineapple juice or its compounds may also help reduce inflammation and perhaps even offer some protection against certain types of cancer.

However, human studies are limited, and it's unclear whether the effects observed in test tubes or animals can be achieved by small daily intakes of pineapple juice.

Moreover, this beverage remains low in fiber and rich in sugar, so drinking large quantities each day is not recommended.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

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