Pineapple Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Pineapple, annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Pineapple is a nutritious and delicious fruit with several unique health benefits. If you follow a low-carb diet, you may be wondering whether or not pineapple is off-limits. Despite its signature sweetness, pineapple can be included in any healthy eating plan so long as it's prepared the right way. Pineapple is low in fat and sodium with an abundance of health-promoting vitamins and minerals. Here are more details on the nutritional profile of this natural treat.

Pineapple Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (165g) of fresh pineapple chunks.

  • Calories: 82.5
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 1.7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Sugars: 16.3g
  • Protein: 0.9g
  • Vitamin C: 79mg

Carbs

As with the majority of fruits, the calories from pineapple come primarily from carbohydrates. One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains 82 calories and 22 grams of carbohydrates. Of these 22 grams, 16g are in the form of sugar (fructose) and 2g come from fiber. Pineapple is considered to be a medium glycemic index (GI) fruit. It has a glycemic load that's lower than overripe bananas and watermelon, but higher than low GI fruits like berries, apples, or pears.

Fats

Pineapple is very low in fat with less than half of a gram per 1-cup serving.

Protein

Pineapple is not a significant source of protein. It contains less than 1 gram per serving.

Vitamins and Minerals

Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C. One cup offers a full day's worth. In addition, one serving of pineapple has 181 micrograms of copper. Given that the adequate intake (AI) for copper is 900 micrograms per day, eating pineapple is a great way to work towards reaching the recommendation for this essential mineral.

Health Benefits

Pineapple offers several short-term and long-term health benefits. Including pineapple into your meal plan can help you recover faster from colds and injuries.

May Reduce Inflammation

Pineapple is also known to contain the anti-inflammatory substance bromelain. This enzyme may be helpful when combined with other medications to treat acute sinusitis. It is also sold in supplement form for arthritis, muscle strains, sprains, and other injuries. It is even used as an anti-inflammatory agent in dental surgery and burn treatment in Europe, but not yet in the United States.

Reduces Abdominal Obesity

Eating enough fruits and vegetables is a well-established practice for maintaining a healthy weight. Beyond just the weight on the scale, abdominal obesity, or visceral fat, is of particular concern due to its association with heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study show a clear connection between consuming adequate fruits and vegetables and maintaining a healthier level of visceral fat. Furthermore, sweet snacks contribute to abdominal obesity. Pineapple's sweet taste, combined with its beneficial nutritional profile, makes it a perfect replacement for processed sweets.

Aids in Skin Repair

Pineapple's high vitamin C content assists the body in forming collagen. Collagen is a vital contributor to wound healing. Getting enough vitamin C through natural sources like pineapple helps the body repair skin injuries in a timely manner.

Promotes a Healthy Gut

Bromelain is often sold as a digestive enzyme aimed at assisting stomach acid in breaking down food. Although this effect isn't yet fully backed by strong scientific evidence, pineapple can still play a role in promoting healthy digestion a bit further down the digestive tract. Polyphenols from plant-based foods, including pineapple, encourage the proliferation of a diverse gut microbiome. A healthy gut offers a range of immune system benefits and is associated with chronic disease prevention.

Fights Against Cancer Cells

Bromelain has also been studied for its effect on stomach and colon cancer. Study results show that bromelain encourages apoptosis, a mechanism of programmed cell death that the body uses as a natural defense against abnormal cells. Bromelain has also been shown to inhibit cell growth in gastric cancer and colon cancer. Although it's too early to draw conclusions on bromelain's full viability for cancer treatment, the preliminary research is promising. Given the beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants present in all fruits and vegetables, including pineapple in your eating plan is a proactive way to eat for cancer prevention.

Allergies

If you are allergic to a variety of fruit, you may also experience a reaction when consuming pineapple as cross-reactivity in fruit allergies are possible, according to medical experts.

Adverse Effects

The bromelain in pineapple may not be safe for people taking certain medications. You should speak to your healthcare provider before consuming pineapple if you are on a blood thinner (such as Warfarin) or some sedatives. Some inconclusive data also suggests avoiding pineapple (the bromelain) if you are taking amoxicillin or a tetracycline antibiotic.

When It's Best

Fresh pineapples are imported from warm climates and in season during the spring, fall, and winter. Frozen and fresh pineapple are naturally sweet and free of added sugars. Frozen pineapple is perfect for any time of year.

Some brands of canned pineapple can be rich in sugar, especially if it is canned or jarred in syrup. Check the ingredients list to see if sugar is added to the brand that you buy. If so, be sure to drain the liquid and rinse the fruit to reduce excess sugar. The syrup can add anywhere from 5 to 15 grams of sugar (roughly 1 to 4 teaspoons). Opt for pineapple canned or jarred in water or its own juice. The same goes for fruit cups marketed for kids.

Storage and Food Safety

Pineapples spoil easily. It is important to use fruit shortly after buying and be careful in your selection process. Choose fruit that is heavy for its size. It should have a strong, sweet aroma and a rich color. Avoid pineapple that smells fermented or sour. Skip fruit that has dried leaves, bruises, darkened areas, or soft spots.

Always wash fresh fruit before cutting. Store in the refrigerator once it's been cut and consume within three to five days.

How to Prepare

Pineapples can be an intimidating fruit to cut, but once you get the hang of it, it shouldn't be a problem. You can also purchase it presliced fresh or frozen.

  1. Slice off the leaves and stem.
  2. Stand the fruit upright and cut off the peel in vertical strips.
  3. Cut the fruit away from the woody core—this is typically done in quarters.
  4. Cut the flesh of the fruit as desired.

Fresh pineapples make an excellent addition to salads. You can also cut the fruit up and add it to low-fat yogurt, cottage or ricotta cheese, or use it in a favorite smoothie recipe. Smoothies are a great way to use frozen pineapple. Pineapples can also be baked, grilled, or incorporated into various soups and stews.

Recipes

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Article Sources
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