Pineapple Juice: Are There Health Benefits?

Native to South America, pineapples are now cultivated in warm climates globally. Most of the world’s supply is grown in Thailand. 

Pineapple is rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s also the only major dietary source of bromelain, an enzyme that has been used for centuries to treat a range of ailments. Modern research has studied bromelain's effects and supports several of pineapple's potential health benefits. 

Pineapple juice packs a concentrated amount of these nutrients into a single serving. Because it’s naturally sweet, most pineapple juice contains little to no added sugar. Store-bought pineapple juice often contains added ascorbic acid, which is another name for vitamin C. Pineapples are naturally high in this immune-boosting vitamin, but the added ascorbic acid helps preserve the juice’s flavor and color. 

It’s also easy to make pineapple juice at home. Just be sure to use a fully ripened pineapple because it can be toxic when consumed raw. 

For hundreds of years, pineapples were used as a symbol to convey wealth and high status, but today they’re found at supermarkets around the world. Bottled pineapple juice is also widely sold in stores and is often available freshly juiced at restaurants and cafes. 

Nutrition Information

A 1 cup serving of unsweetened pineapple juice contains: 

  • Calories: 133
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 32 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 25 grams

Pineapple juice is a good source of: 

Pineapple juice is also a great source of beta-carotene and vitamin A. These antioxidants promote healthy skin, heal wounds, and may reduce premature skin aging

Potential Health Benefits of Pineapple Juice

Pineapple juice has a range of vitamins and minerals that can boost your immunity. It’s high in vitamin C, which can help protect your body against the common cold. It also contains enzymes that have been shown to activate a healthy immune system response.

Research has found other health benefits to drinking pineapple juice:

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Pineapple juice contains an enzyme called bromelain, which triggers your body’s ability to fight pain and reduce swelling. It’s used as a treatment for inflammation and sports injuries and may be effective in reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis

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Heart Health

Bromelain may also break down blood clots and cholesterol deposits in your arteries, which can support healthy blood flow and reduce your risk of heart disease

Cold and Allergy Relief 

The bromelain in pineapple juice may also thin mucus that causes congestion in the sinuses or chest. Together with its anti-inflammatory properties, pineapple juice may relieve symptoms of the common cold and allergies.

These properties have led researchers to study its ability to treat asthma. While research is ongoing, studies have found a link between bromelain intake and the reduction of airway inflammation, a primary symptom of asthma. 

Good Vision

The vitamin C and antioxidant content in pineapple juice may reduce your risk of vision loss. Pineapple juice contains high levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin A, all of which reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a condition that causes age-related cataracts and vision problems. 

One study also found that pineapple juice reduces the occurrence of eye floaters, which are small shapes or spots that impair your vision. 

May Aid Digestion

The enzymes in pineapple juice help break down protein in your gut, which can help reduce constipation, gas, and bloating. Bromelain also has antibacterial properties that can protect your gut from diarrhea-causing bacteria like E.coli and reduce gut inflammation.

More research is needed to confirm these digestive effects since studies have focused on the effects of concentrated bromelain higher than the amount found in pineapple juice.

Potential Risks of Pineapple Juice

Pineapple juice’s high nutrient content can cause health problems for people with certain medical conditions.

Talk to your doctor to find out if pineapple juice is a good addition to your diet. Consider the following before drinking pineapple juice: 

Allergies

Some people are allergic to pineapple, which can cause a rash, hives, or breathing difficulties. Avoid pineapple juice if you experience these symptoms when eating pineapple.

Stomach Problems

High amounts of vitamin C can cause nausea, diarrhea, or heartburn. Likewise, bromelain can cause diarrhea, excessive menstrual bleeding, or a skin rash if you consume too much. 

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Pineapple’s acidity may also increase heartburn symptoms in people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease

Toxicity

You should only drink pineapple juice made from ripened pineapple. Unripe pineapple can be toxic to humans and can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Kidney Disease

People with kidney disease should speak to their doctor before drinking pineapple juice to ensure its potassium content is safe for their diet. 

Tooth Decay

Pineapple juice’s sugar and acid content can damage tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 29, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

Antioxidants (Basel): “Nutrients for Prevention of Macular Degeneration and Eye-Related Diseases.”

Biomedical Reports: “Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications.”

Biotechnology Research and Innovation: “Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain: A Review.”

Cell Immunology: “Bromelain exerts anti-inflammatory effects in an ovalbumin-induced murine model of allergic airway disease.”

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS: “Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology, and medical use.”

Dermato-Endocrinology: “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Pineapple Juice.”

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: “Bromelain as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: a Review of Clinical Studies.”

International Urology and Nephrology: “Potassium metabolism in patients with chronic kidney disease.”

ISHS: “THE PINEAPPLE INDUSTRY IN THAILAND”

Journal of American Science: “Pharmacologic vitreolysis of vitreous floaters by 3-month pineapple supplement in Taiwan: A pilot study.”

Mayo Clinic: “Is it possible to take too much vitamin C?”

Mount Sinai Hospital: “Bromelain.”

Nature Genetics: “The bracteatus pineapple genome and domestication of clonally propagated crops.”

Nutrition & Food Science: “Vitamin C content during processing and storage of pineapple.”

PLOS ONE: “Obesity and Dental Decay: Interference on the Role of Dietary Sugar”

Purdue University: “Pineapples.”

University of Nebraska: “Allergenic Foods and their Allergens.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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