Does Pineapple Improve Digestion?

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If you like pina coladas…you may be reaping some benefits to your digestive system! 

Okay, let’s get this straight, I’m not advocating for overuse of cocktails to improve your health. 

But, besides the fact that the well known drink is part of a song that’s now stuck in your head, there’s actually a component of the cocktail that can benefit your digestive health. 

What ingredient am I referring to? Pineapple! 

This tropical fruit can pack some potent pluses when it comes to digestion! 


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Pineapple For Health

Pineapple, an oddly shaped, sweet yet slightly sour, tropical fruit is a favorite for many. 

It is said that the fruit was named by European explorers who thought it looked like a pine cone. 

For many years pineapple has been used in folk medicine due to its numerous health benefits. 

It’s high in vitamin C and is loaded with antioxidants. It also contains vitamins A and B-6 along with manganese, magnesium, potassium and other vitamins and minerals. 

Due to these vitamins and minerals as well as the fiber content in this healthy fruit, pineapple is listed as a great addition to your diet for the following reasons:

  • Fertility (due to its antioxidant content)
  • Heart health (due to its fiber, vitamin C and potassium content)
  • Aids in weight loss (low calorie, can be subbed for sweets, high in fiber)
  • Promotes healthy bones (due to manganese content)
  • Fights disease (like cancer, alzheimers, diabetes, etc from antioxidant content)
  • Fights damage to skin (vitamin C and antioxidant content)
  • Helps with inflammation (antioxidant and bromelain content)

And, though those are powerful tools for your health, possibly the most praised benefit of pineapple is its ability to improve digestion. 


Pineapple For Digestive Health

Pineapple is great for the health of your digestive system for two reasons: its fiber content and the fact that it contains a powerful digestive enzyme called bromelain. 

Let’s break down the benefits to your digestive system in both components: 

Fiber
Pineapple is rich in fiber, soluble fiber actually. Soluble fiber aids in digestion by attracting water from within your gut to slow absorption.

Slow down absorption? Why on earth would you want that?

When healthy fibers draw in water from within your gut, digestion slows and your body is able to have time to absorb needed vitamins and minerals in the foods you’ve consumed. 

So, when you eat healthy foods like pineapple, the fiber content helps your body to then absorb and benefit fully from its vitamin C content, its manganese content, its bromelain content…you know, all those things we mentioned just a few moments ago as being beneficial to your health. 

You can reap the healthy benefits of those vitamins and minerals due to the soluble fiber content of the fruit. 

Pineapple also contains a small amount of insoluble fiber, and this benefits your digestive system by helping your body get rid of waste. 

Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber that is known for keeping you “regular.” 

Bromelain
While fiber is important, the bromelain content in pineapple is considered to be its greatest reason for being such a powerful aid in digestive health. 

Actually, pineapple is one of the best sources in the world for this powerful digestive enzyme. 

South and Central American countries have been using pineapple (for its bromelain content) for centuries to aid and treat digestive disorders. 

Though the greatest sources of bromelain are found in the stem of the pineapple which can be used to make bromelain supplements, the flesh (fruit that we eat) is also rich in the enzyme. 

Bromelain is such a powerful enzyme that pineapple or pineapple juice can actually be used as a meat tenderizer due to the it’s ability to break down protein. 

Studies have shown that it can reduce inflammation in the colon, heal tissues in the digestive tract, and decrease the secretion of cytokines which cause inflammation in the lining of the gut. 

The bromelain content in pineapple is considered to be the reason that the fruit can aid in stomach pain, heartburn, and diarrhea relief. 

One study found that bromelain supplementation improved digestion even in those with feeding tubes. 

So, how does this digestive enzyme work? 

The mixture of enzymes in bromelain contain proteases. These enzymes are specifically tasked with breaking down proteins. They essentially attack the bonds of the protein chain.

And, the work of these enzymes to help break down these proteins improves your body’s ability to digest foods, helping you to become more regular, which is why folks on high protein diets often have success with incorporating bromelain (to keep bowel movements regular). 

Proteases aid in both remodeling tissues in the digestive tract and in proper immune responses as well, which I suppose isn’t surprising, knowing that the majority of the immune system is housed in the gut. 

Within the small intestine, proteases digest proteins so that your body can absorb amino acids and small peptides. 

And, an added benefit of pineapple in regards to bromelain is that this natural source of the enzyme is highly bioavailable, meaning that your body can easily absorb it safely (also without side effects) through the gastrointestinal tract. 

Many supplements and medications degrade during digestion, rendering some of them either useless or minimally useful. The benefits of bromelain in pineapple are optimal as they don’t suffer such degradation. 

While there are many other health and medicinal benefits of bromelain, this enzyme makes pineapple a powerful aid in improving digestion


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