Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, pineapple juice is a popular base for smoothies and cocktails. It can even be used as a meat tenderizer. Pineapple, named for its resemblance to a pinecone, has long been used as an ancient home remedy for digestive issues and inflammation. It has also been studied for its potential benefits to the immune system and ability to reduce healing time.
There are more than 100 different varieties of pineapple, but only eight varieties are grown commercially. Many of us associate pineapple with Hawaii. However plants can mostly be found in Latin America and West Africa. In Europe, the majority of pineapples come from Costa Rica, which supplies 75% of the pineapples found in the EU. In fact, the Costa Rican tropical fruit export market was valued at $1.22 billion in 2015.
Boosts the immune system
A study in the Philippines found those who were eat pineapple daily developed fewer viral and bacterial infections than those who did not eat it. Their recovery time from these illnesses was also shortened.
Bromelain is an enzyme contained in the pineapple stem and juice that helps to break down and digest proteins. Bromelain in capsule form has also been shown to reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain after surgery.
Consuming pineapple and its juice will not provide enough bromelain to be used as medical treatment for healing, however. Common processing procedures used when making pineapple juice severely decrease the amount of bromelain contained in the juice.
One laboratory study, in which fresh pineapple juice was used, found that the juice from the core, stem, and flesh all suppressed growth of ovarian and colon cancer cells. Further studies in humans need to be conducted before any connections in treating cancer are made.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, beta-carotenemay playa protective role against prostate cancer.
In another study, people who ate more beta-carotene-containing foods than others were found to have a reduced risk of developing colon cancer.
Pineapple juice contains vitamin C and beta-carotene. These antioxidants can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture.
Vitamin C also helps with collagen formation, which is a common protein in the body that gives the skin its strength and structure.
One study found that diets rich in vitamin C can cut the risk of cataract formation by one third. The researchers examined the effects of such diets in 1,000 pairs of female twins in the United Kingdom.
The fluid inside the eye contains vitamin C, and a diet rich in vitamin C may help to maintain that fluid and prevent the breakdown that leads to cataracts.
Some people may experience tenderness or discomfort in the mouth, lips, or tongue after consuming pineapple juice due to the enzyme bromelain. Extremely high exposure to bromelain can cause rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea. Anyone who experiences these symptoms after consuming pineapple juice should see a healthcare provider.