Surprising Health Benefits of Pineapples

One day, not so long ago, I remember a group of people talking about how they read somewhere that pineapples are bad for your eyes.  I was skeptical, so of course I continued to eat them, but the idea lodged in my brain.  My eyesight is so terrible, I don’t need anything making it worse.  And now, with pineapple being served pretty much at every meal at every dining hall, I decided to finally check the facts, and I’m glad I did.

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First of all, someone should probably tell those people that they had it backwards.  Livescience talked to a nutritionist, Laura Flores, and they found that pineapples actually reduce the risk of an eye disease.  This disease, macular degeneration, occurs as people age and makes their eyesight worsen.  Pineapples, however, have high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C which help fight the disease.

Additionally, I found further interesting information on pineapples’ benefits, as well as the benefits of fruit in general.

Pineapples seem to be a magical fruit.  Not only do they taste good, but they can help improve bone strength, digestion, and possibly even reduce the risk of cancer.  Both Livescience and Healthiest Foods discuss the merits of an enzyme, bromelain, which is found in pineapples.  This enzyme helps to break down proteins, making them easier to digest.  According to Healthiest Foods, most of the bromelain is found in the pineapple’s core, so they suggest that you eat a bit of it after high protein meals.

Additionally, they also mention the high levels of manganese in pineapple which strengthens the bones and helps develop connective tissues. Both sites go on to explain many other health benefits of eating pineapples, but the one I found most interesting was the possibility that pineapples reduce the risk of cancer.

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A piece in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology explores the use of pineapples as a folk medicine.  Bromelain seems to be the key to the magic of pineapples, according to this book.  It says that not the exact chemical structure of all parts of this enzyme are not yet known, but it has been observed that bromelain interferes with the growth of malignant cells and it has “therapeutic values in modulating tumor growth.”  In 1972, Gerard treated 12 cancer patients with bromelain and found it had a positive effect, as did Nieper in 1974.  However, the results were not statistically significant enough to confirm their theories.  They also noted that not all preparations of the bromelain had the same effect.  Nieper did believe, however, that the bromelain acted as a way to weaken the shield protecting tumors, allowing the immune system to work more efficiently.

In 1975, they started animal testing to try to provide more information so that they could understand the correlations better.  The results showed that bromelain-fed mice were more resistant to the harmful effects of UV radiation.  Another study dealing with the lungs of mice also supported the findings and helped scientists to determine that Nieper and Gerard’s study findings were not the result of a placebo effect.

Two organizations, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and Chief Medical Officer’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA), conducted studies on fruit and vegetables effects, in general, on cancer.  While their findings varied from cancer to cancer, they were able to come to an agreement and conclude that, overall, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer.

So while pineapple is not a surefire way to prevent cancer or a perfect cure for all health diseases, it definitely doesn’t have the negative qualities I was warned of.  In fact, it looks like the sweet fruit that graces dining tables has even more benefits than I bargained for.



5 thoughts on “Surprising Health Benefits of Pineapples

  1. Daniel Joseph Depaulo

    I knew there was something about pineapple that was good for a person’s health but I never knew exactly what it was. After reading this it definitely seems like something more people should incorporating into their diet. Pineapple should fit into the “superfood” category, with the likes of broccoli, blueberries, and sweet potatoes.

  2. Jessica Nicole Greenhut

    Pineapple is my favorite fruit so this was amazing news to hear! Cancer is one of the scariest things that exist in our world, and anything we can do to prevent it is helpful. Even though Pineapple upside-down cake is a dessert, it still contains all of the benefits of a pineapple. Next time I’m in the mood for a sweet dessert I will go for that over a brownie. Thanks for all the information I will be stocking up my fridge with pineapple!

  3. Caroline Maria Teti

    Pineapple is the best! It actually helps in the reduction of inflammation. A lot of people will drink the juice after getting their wisdom teeth removed. I also used to eat pineapple a lot for the arthritis in my joints! It was pretty awesome to read about it in-terms of cancer though.

  4. Hung Chieh Wang

    I never knew that pineapple is such a good fruit. I am not that into pineapple, but with all the benefits, I may start to eat some. But pineapple is really hard to cut.

  5. Rachael Moyer

    This blog post really caught my eye because I eat pineapple at the dining hall almost every day. I was very pleased to see that pineapple has many positive effects! It was very interesting to see that pineapples reduced the risk of cancer. I didn’t even know the enzyme Bromelian existed, let alone was used to treat cancer patients and improve their condition. I will certainly keep eating this fruit. Here is a link to some pineapple recipes: Link

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