Pineapple is very rich in manganese, a trace mineral important in the formation of connective tissue and bones. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that manganese also plays a role in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, as well as affecting calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation. In addition, manganese is vital for normal brain and nerve function, and has antioxidant properties. The World’s Healthiest Foods states that 1 cup of pineapple delivers 2.56 mg, which is 128 percent of the daily recommended value.
Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C, yielding 23.87 mg a cup and contributing 40 percent of the recommended daily value. The World’s Healthiest Foods notes that vitamin C is the body’s most important water-soluble antioxidant, helping to protect against damage from free radicals and thereby helping to reduce incidence of atheroclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Vitamin C may also help cut risk of colon cancer and reduce inflammation in joint diseases.
At a mere 76 calories per cup, pineapple is a wholesome, low-calorie, high-fiber food, and is a good supply of several important vitamins. One cup of pineapple provides 0.14 mg of thiamin, or vitamin B1. The American Cancer Society states that vitamin B1 helps the body produce energy, and is vital for the proper functioning of muscles, heart and nerves. The same cup of pineapple also provides 0.13 mg of vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, which helps the body break down protein and is vital for maintenance of the health of the red blood cells, the nervous system and parts of the immune system.
Pineapples contain bromelain, a mixture of substances, including protein-digesting enzymes. Not only does bromelain promote good digestion, but it may offer other health benefits as well. In a review of clinical studies conducted by S. Brien and colleagues and published in the October 6, 2004, issue of “Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” the authors stated that bromelain extracted from pineapple plants had anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and showed potential as a treatment for osteoarthritis. However, further study is needed.
Use in Allergy Avoidance and Low-Purine Diets
Pineapple is not commonly allergenic and is easily digestible; for this reason it is often used in allergy avoidance diets. In addition, The World’s Healthiest Foods site notes that pineapple has practically zero oxalates or purines, substances that should be avoided by those with hyperuricemia, or gout.