Nutrition Facts & Healthy Tips About Pineapple

The Health Benefits and Calories Found in This Tropical Fruit

Bunch of pineapples
Kyle Rothenberg/Perspectives/Getty Images.

The great news is that pineapples are both delicious and nutritious. Did you know that they are also fairly high in sugar? Because of this, if you have diabetes or follow a low-carb diet, it's best to manage your pineapple portions carefully.

Pineapple Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup, chunks (165 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 82 
Calories from Fat 2 
Total Fat 0.2g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 2mg0%
Potassium 180mg5%
Carbohydrates 21.6g7%
Dietary Fiber 2.3g9%
Sugars 16.2g 
Protein 0.9g 
Vitamin A 2% · Vitamin C 131%
Calcium 2% · Iron 3%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

How Healthy Is Pineapple?

Pineapple is relatively low in calories, but a lot of those calories come from carbohydrates. Depending on how you slice it, the thickness and width can change the amount of carbohydrate you're taking in. It also makes it easy to overeat.

It's best to stick with just 1/2 to 3/4 cup serving of pineapple chunks. Also, try to eat this fruit with a meal or a protein rich food such as low-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C, containing more than one day's worth in a one cup serving. They also contain manganese and are a good source of thiamin. Thiamin is a water-soluble B-vitamin that is involved in metabolic processes, including carbohydrate and protein digestion.

The Health Benefits of Pineapple

Pineapples have some rather interesting health benefits thanks to the nutrients found in the fruit.

A study published in 2000, examined thiamin in 2,900 Australian men and women over the age of 49.

It concluded that those in the highest quintile of thiamin intake were 40 percent less likely to have nuclear cataracts than those in the lowest fifth of the study. A 2005 study of 408 American women backed up these findings.

Pineapple is also known to contain the anti-inflammatory substance bromelain.

This mix of enzymes is thought to be most effective in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, sinusitis, and even muscle strains, sprains, and other injuries. Bromelain is said to aid digestion as well. Early evidence indicates it may be useful in cancer treatments, though more research is necessary.

However, researchers note that the amount of bromelain found in pineapple is not enough to act as a medicine. Bromelain supplements and topical treatments are available for this purpose. However, there are side effects, drug interactions, and precautions for certain medical conditions. Talk to your doctor before using it.

Is It True That Eating Pineapple Can Speed up Labor?

Expecting mothers often hear that pineapple can speed up labor. It is thought that the enzyme bromelain can soften the cervix.

However, there is very little hard scientific evidence relating to the effectiveness of this. In fact, a critical study of various complementary therapies during childbirth notes that the amount of bromelain in pineapple is insignificant. You'd have to eat a lot of the fruit to possibly induce labor.

Picking and Storing Pineapple

The vast majority of pineapples come from Hawaii. You can expect to find fresh pineapple year-round, though the peak season is from March through June.

Pineapples spoil very easily. It is important to use the fruit shortly after buying it and be careful in your selection process. Select fruit that is heavy for the size, this means it will be nice and juicy. 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.

As an alternative, you can purchase canned pineapple as slices or cubes. It can also be found crushed, dried, or candied. Try to choose pineapple that does not have sugar added. Be sure to read labels to help with portion control.

Is Canned Pineapple Healthy?

Canned pineapple can be rich in sugar. Before eating it, be sure to drain the liquid and rinse off the fruit. That juice or syrup can add anywhere from 5 to 15 grams of sugar (roughly one to four teaspoons). A better choice is to look for canned pineapple with no sugar.

How to Cut a Pineapple

Pineapples can be an intimidating fruit to cut, but once you get the hang of it, it shouldn't be a problem.

  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.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Pineapple 

It really is amazing all the ways you can enjoy pineapple as a snack or for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Pineapples are excellent when eaten raw and 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. Pineapples can also be baked, grilled, or incorporated into various soups and stews. 

Sources: 

Higdon J, et al. Thiamin. Micronutrient Information Center, Oregon State University. 2013.

Ehlrich SD. Bromelain. University of Maryland Medical Center. 2014.

Evnas M. Postdates Pregnancy and Complementary Therapies. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2009;15(4):220-224.

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