Top 10 health benefits of pineapple

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A person chopping a pineapple

Nutritional profile of pineapple

An 80g serving of fresh pineapple provides:

  • 33Kcal / 141KJ
  • 0.3g Protein
  • 0.2g Fat
  • 8.1g Carbohydrate
  • 1.3g Fibre
  • 128mg Potassium
  • 10mg Vitamin C

Whether you choose fresh or canned pineapple, an 80g serving counts towards your five-a-day, but if you do opt for the canned variety, choose a product with no added sugar. A single glass (150ml) of unsweetened pineapple juice also counts, but be aware that this is high in the type of sugars, known as ‘free’ sugars, that we are advised to limit.

Top 10 health benefits of pineapple

1. Source of protective antioxidants

Pineapples are a useful source of protective plant compounds, especially flavonoids, known as antioxidants. Consuming these on a regular basis may reduce your risk of developing certain chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

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2. Longer lasting antioxidant protection

Obtaining protective plant compounds (antioxidants) from foods, like pineapple, that are also a rich source of insoluble fibre, appears to prolong the protective effect of compounds like flavonoids.

3. Useful source of fibre

Being rich in fibre, fruit like pineapple may help support a healthy digestive system and improve the diversity and health of the community of beneficial microbes that reside in your gut (known as your gut microbiota).

Tinned pineapple

4. May aid digestion

Pineapple contains an enzyme, known as bromelain – this breaks down the proteins in food into their smaller building blocks of amino acids and peptides, and is active in both the acid environment of the stomach and the alkaline conditions of the small intestine. It is the bromelain content that makes pineapple a useful digestive aid for those who don’t break down their food properly, especially for those with pancreatic insufficiency, a condition in which the pancreas fails to produce enough digestive enzymes. These properties make fresh (not canned) flesh and juice of pineapple a useful tenderiser for meat or fish.

5. May support iron absorption

Pineapple is a useful source of vitamin C, with the canned fruit being especially rich. One interesting study suggested that consumption of canned pineapple over a nine-week period appeared to improve the haemoglobin levels of both underweight and normal weight subjects. Haemoglobin is an iron-containing protein and is where two-thirds of the body’s iron is found. It is a major component of red blood cells and plays an important role in transporting oxygen around the body. The mechanism behind pineapple’s benefit is thought to be the action of vitamin C in improving iron absorption.

6. May promote healing after injury

A number of studies suggest that bromelain helps reduce inflammation, swelling and bruising after injury or surgery. It can even be useful if taken before dental surgery, when it appears to help reduce pain and provide as much relief as anti-inflammatory medication.

In vitro research (conducted in a test tube) has also demonstrated bromelain’s value in wound healing.

7. May help relieve the symptoms of arthritis

Numerous studies, dating back as far as the 1960s, have demonstrated how useful bromelain can be in the relief of the inflammatory pain associated with arthritis. It appears to have this analgesic action through a direct influence on the chemical mediators that are involved in our perception of pain.

8. May support immunity

A nine-week study of school children who ate either a moderate amount of canned pineapple (140g) or a large amount (280g) every day, had a significantly lower risk of catching a viral or bacterial infection than those who ate none. In addition to this, those who ate the higher amount had four times the number of infection-fighting white immune cells.

The anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain also appear to be valuable in helping modulate the immune system, and may be especially valid for those with auto-immune conditions.

9. May support the cardiovascular system

Once again, it is bromelain that appears to have value to the heart and circulatory system through its action on preventing or minimising the severity of attacks of angina and transient ischaemic attack (TIA). It’s also thought that bromelain may break down cholesterol plaques, responsible for hardening arteries and potentially leading to a condition called atherosclerosis.

Animal studies suggest bromelain also influences blood clotting by inhibiting the production of a protein called fibrin which is involved in blood coagulation.

10. May be supportive for inflammatory bowel conditions

Although research into the anti-inflammatory effect of bromelain on alleviating the symptoms of inflammatory bowel conditions (such as ulcerative colitis) looks promising, more evidence is needed before this benefit can be proven in humans.

Pineapple used in kebabs

Is pineapple safe for everyone?

Unless you experience an allergy to pineapple, it is generally recognised as safe for most people when included as part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, eating or drinking large quantities may cause digestive upset and you’d be wise to avoid the unripe fruit as this may cause diarrhoea and throat irritation. Moreover, if you suffer from acid reflux, pineapple may aggravate your symptoms.

Those on blood thinning medication should be mindful that the bromelain in pineapple may affect the blood’s ability to clot and when eaten in quantity, and in conjunction with blood thinning medication, may raise the risk of bleeding.

Overall, is pineapple healthy?

Deliciously sweet, pineapples make a nutritious and healthy addition to a varied and balanced diet. However, those with an allergy should avoid the fruit and those on blood thinning medication should exercise caution.

Speak to your GP or healthcare provider if you’re concerned about allergies, are on anti-coagulants or you have a relevant health condition.

Try our delicious pineapple recipes:

Pineapple hot sauce
Thai squash & pineapple curry
Pineapple & pink grapefruit with mint sugar
Jerk pork & pineapple skewers with black beans & rice
Frozen fruit sticks with passion fruit & lime drizzle
Sweet & sour chicken & veg
Thai red duck with sticky pineapple rice
Griddled swordfish with pineapple & chilli salsa
Skinny Thai burgers with sweet potato chips & pineapple salsa

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Top 5 health benefits of canned fruit and vegetables
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This article was last reviewed on 5 June 2024 by Kerry Torrens.

Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at

Kerry Torrens is a qualified nutritionist (MBANT) with a postgraduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the past 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including Good Food.

All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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