Pineapple is famous from a nutritional perspective for its reported high bromelain content.
Bromelain is a "protein-digesting" proteolytic enzyme first extracted from pineapple juice in 1891. It became available on a larger scale in the late 50s as a nutritional supplement.
While it is present in all parts of the Ananas comosus pineapple species, the inedible stem or the pedestal-like stalk that the fruit grows from is very concentrated. It is the primary part utilized to make bromelain dietary extracts. (*)
The common researched benefits of bromelain are its anti-inflammatory influences, especially for the joints, muscles and sinuses. It is also used to support the healthy digestion of proteins and aid in nutrient absorption, two of the main selling points for extract supplements along with joint care.
The question is, does eating pineapple increase dietary bromelain intake? In one review, there was some indication of this as the bromelain in pineapple juice was shown useful for "metabolizing undigested food remnants in the stomach."
Likewise, the protease enzyme content in the raw juice is known to work well as a meat tenderizer, evidence of its effectiveness on protein breakdown.
However, the fruit pulp itself contains much less than other parts of this species. The core of the pineapple, which is an internal extension of the bromelain-dense stem is actually higher than the edible yellow fruit that surrounds it.
This center core, which is typically discarded, can be used with the pulp in blended drinks or juices. You can't really taste the difference and you get more of the advantages that bromelain can offer.
In research we came across on the benefits of bromelain, most studies were analyzing bromelain extract, not the straight pineapple fruit or juice itself.
So generally, for bromelain potentials as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic (*), it is recommended to take it as a nutritional supplement as it is more therapeutically condensed.
Stringy slices of ripe pineapple are high in FIBER content beneficial for increasing one's daily recommended intake. Data shows that one cup (165g) of pineapple chunks can be about 2.3 grams or 9% of the Daily Value, based on an adult 2,000-calorie diet.
Unfortunately, the pectin content in pineapples is found mostly in the inedible pokey skin but the pulp does contain small amounts.
As far as vitamins and minerals go, raw pineapple is very high in VITAMIN C as well as the mineral MANGANESE, which is common in many foods. The fruit also is composed of some B vitamins, with thiamin, B6 and folate being the highest, according to nutrition data.
While for some people eating pineapple fruit can help to benefit digestion, especially of proteins, it can be too acidic for others with sensitivities.
The main acids in pineapple that give it a tart taste are citric and L-malic acids with citric being 2-4 times higher. This gives the fruit a pH between 3 and 4, which can cause problems for those with certain conditions like acid reflux, stomach ulcers, acidosis or a candida infection.
Pineapple is a commonly favored tropical fruit delicacy. This is because of its deliciously sweet and juicy taste that can be quite hard to stop eating. This is not a problem once in a while but too much pineapple or its concentrated juice can be too high in sugar for frequent dietary intake.
So, while drinking a glass of freshly made pineapple juice first thing in the morning can be great as a periodic digestive aid, it's better not to make it a daily habit. Unless you live in a tropical climate zone where pineapples are in abundance, usually this imported fruit is not an overly consumed variety.
Other options for balancing the sweetness of pineapple are to blend it into green smoothies and homemade green juices. This will also help to offset the bitter taste of leafy greens.
Again, when juicing pineapple, it is good to include the pineapple core so you get its healthful compounds. Sometimes drinking a straight blended "pineapple smoothie", with its fiber content, can also provide a tasty drink and will help to reduce the glycemic load.
"Eating the rainbow" of fruits and vegetables is commonly advised as a diet choice for physiological and psychological health throughout one’s lifespan. And certainly, brightly pigmented pineapple fruit definitely covers the yellow part of this color spectrum.
In research on pineapple and its nutrient profile, more than 30 nutritive and bioactive compounds were found in pineapple juice.
Some of these phytonutrients are phenolic compounds (*) which add to the body's arsenal of protective dietary ANTIOXIDANTS when consumed.
On rare occasions, some individuals may experience food allergies to pineapples with symptoms that include a mild red rash, nausea, mouth and throat irritation to more severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. Pineapples plants also contain latex, a known allergen.
One of the pros of pineapple is its frequent availability in many parts of the world. The peak season for the highest quality imported golden-ripe pineapple is usually in the spring and summer seasons.
If you happen to live in a wet tropical climate conducive to its growth cycle, pineapples are also known to be easy to propagate.
This can be done by using specific techniques that involve cutting off the crown (the part with the leaves), sprouting the roots and planting it to grow another pineapple.