When you think of a fruit that is juicy, sweet, tropical and yellow, what comes to mind?
Pineapple of course! At least for me it does.
Whether it’s been a part of our breakfast, on a welcome sign or even symbolizing a profession, we’ve all had our fair share of this delicious fruit. I’m sure you’ve stepped into a T.J. Maxx, Hospital or a HomeGoods store at one point in your life and have noticed a pineapple on their welcome mat or even pillow case. Why? Because this fruit has been well known and recognized for its warmth, hospitality, and even friendship.
The pineapple’s scientific name Ananas comosus, is grown and found in many countries. Pineapples are indigenous to South America, specifically Brazil. Not only is this fruit delicious, but it also has medicinal properties which we will further explore!
Food for Medicine
Pineapples contain a very important phytochemical compound called bromelain which is found in the actual fruit and stem of the fruit.
One study suggested that the body can absorb around 12 grams per day of bromelain without complications (1).
Another study stated that overall bromelain is not toxic and can be used daily anywhere between 200-2000 mg/kg (4).
Bromelain has many other characteristics that can be beneficial to us such as promoting heart health while also preventing and treating blood clots (2). Interestingly, bromelain may also help with inflammation which is found in conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Furthermore, having a combination of bromelain and other nutrients was shown to decrease pain and inflammation in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee (3). But wait! That’s not all! Bromelain has also been effective in post-surgery inflammation, wounds, as well as swelling and bruising.
Bromelain that is used for necrotic tissue and for healing conditions can be administered through topicals or a dietary supplement. The enzyme that is predominately responsible for the skin’s healing process is called escharase, which is found in the stem of a pineapple.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you may think bromelain may be of help, don’t hesitate to explore these options with your physician. It is also important to note that by consuming pineapple, you will still reap the benefits of bromelain.
Medical Nutrition Therapy
As we can see here, pineapple has many health benefits and can be a great addition to our meals and/or snacks. As a renal dietitian, I encourage my clients to consume pineapple due its health benefits and great taste!
For those of you who have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), 1 cup of pineapple is considered to be a Low FODMAP food as well! Now that’s a win! Pineapple can be purchased whole, freshly cut, canned or frozen. I personally recommend pineapple to be purchased either fresh or frozen to avoid any added sugars or syrups.
There are many ways that pineapple can be enjoyed. Below is a breakfast idea on how to incorporate pineapple into your meal. Enjoy!
1 cup of Yogurt (Plain, ~7 oz.)
½ cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup of pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Blend together and enjoy!
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me! I look forward to hearing from you!
Rebecca Goodrich MS, RDN, LDN