If you like piña coladas, then you probably like pineapple juice. But did you know that it is healthy as well as delicious? So, what sort of benefits does pineapple juice offer? First, you won’t need to search for no sugar added, nothing but pineapple juice. Unlike other fruit juices, pineapple juice is so sweet that often no sugar needs to be added. In fact, the only substance that is normally added to it is ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. This is added to protect color and flavor. If you prefer your juice without the extra vitamin boost, you can always juice the fruit yourself.
Be sure to avoid any pineapple drinks that are juice-like products and not actually juice. These drinks are just flavored sugar water and should be avoided.
Examples of these include:
- Capri Sun
One 8-ounce cup of unsweetened pineapple juice has about 130 calories with 33 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 30 mg of magnesium. Even without added ascorbic acid, it’s got 25 mg of vitamin C, which is a third of the daily recommended value for women (75 mg), and over 25 percent for men (90 mg). It also contains 0.78 mg of iron, which is about 10 percent of the recommended daily intake for adult men (the recommended daily intake for women is much higher, at 18 mg).
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
Pineapple is the only major dietary source of bromelain. While it’s found in the greatest concentration within the core of the fruit, it is also found throughout the sweet parts and in the juice. According to one study, pineapple can be useful in the treatment of sports injuries, thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain.
Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme, which means it’s a mixture of enzymes that digest protein. Its anti-inflammatory properties include the reduction of swelling and bruising. You can also think of it as a scavenger enzyme, helping to clean up damaged cells. Bromelain seems to work by triggering the body’s production of substances that fight pain and reduce swelling, and it contains chemicals that prevent the blood from clotting.
2. Anticancer agent
Studies show that bromelain has the potential to act as an effective cancer-fighting agent. Specifically, it may work in unison with chemotherapy to suppress the growth of cancer cells. It also contains beta carotene, which can protect against prostate cancer and possibly colon cancer. As far as treatment goes, the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Medicine says that further research is needed.
3. Heart benefits
The vitamin C in pineapple juice may also help to protect against heart disease. A number of studies — including one from Finland and another from China — show that higher vitamin C intake causes a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. Also, like cancer, heart disease risk reduces with a high-fiber diet.
4. Cataract prevention
Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in protecting vision. A recent study showed that higher intake of vitamin C reduces the risk of cataracts, which is cloudiness of the lens that can interfere with vision. The authors even suggest that it should be used as the primary preventive method.
5. Fertility perks
Pineapple juice contains several beneficial vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, beta carotene, copper, zinc, and folate. Many of these can help boost fertility in both men and women.
6. Asthma prevention
Pineapples are also a good source of beta carotene, which is converted into active vitamin A during digestion. While the research is still in the early stages, a number of studies indicate that beta carotene may reduce the risk of exercise-induced asthma.
7. Osteoarthritis treatment
Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain, some research suggests that pineapples could be useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Another big benefit to drinking pineapple juice is the manganese content. A large percentage of the population is deficient in manganese. It’s an essential nutrient that fights aging and disease by protecting your cells from free radicals, which cause cellular damage that can lead to both.
9. Reduce bloating/constipation
Pineapple juice is thought to help aid in digestion, reducing bloating and constipation. Bromelain also comes into play here. By breaking down protein faster, it can help speed up digestion, reducing both bloating and constipation in the process.
In addition to the uses discussed above, bromelain has even been used in the past to help treat symptoms of bowel conditions like ulcerative colitis, potentially reducing swelling and even ulcers.
Pineapple juice is loaded with benefits, and it’s delicious, too! You can find it in cans on your grocery store shelf, or you can juice it at home. As with all juices, moderation is important.
Pineapple juice can be used in a variety of recipes that fit into a well-balanced diet. You don’t just have to drink it. Examples include:
- mixed fruit smoothies
- using the juice as a meat tenderizer or part of a marinade
- as a main ingredient for the sauce in a dish
Even with all natural, no sugar added juice, you still want to moderate your juice intake. This is largely because while pineapple juice definitely has some fantastic health benefits, it is high in sugar. Drinking some gives you the benefits, while drinking too much could overload you on sugar and calories. One 8-ounce glass of pineapple juice has about 24 grams of sugar and 132 calories! For the best balance of nutrients, sugar, and calories, choose the whole fruit over the juice.
Moderation is important for a healthy, balanced diet. Loading up on one food means you won’t get the necessary benefits of eating a variety of healthy foods.