With sliced pineapple in your salad, side dish or beverage, you can almost hear the ukeleles and feel the warm Pacific breeze. Pineapple adds a sweet, tropical flavor and a wide variety of nutrients to your diet. It may also benefit your digestive system and help you ward off inflammation, but if you're watching your sugar intake or have skin sensitivities, eating too much pineapple may not be good for you.
Adding pineapple to your meals or desserts may help you digest your food better. Since the late 1800s, scientists have been extracting an enzyme called bromelain from the juice and stems of the pineapple plant. Bromelain helps to reduce inflammation, making it a useful supplement for people with sinus infections and those who have recently had surgery. It also may help treat or prevent indigestion and arthritis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
If you have diabetes, pineapple may cause a spike in your blood sugar. Each 1/2-cup serving of sliced raw pineapple has 8 grams of sugar. It also has a glycemic load of 66, according to the University of Wisconsin. Food registering at 70 or higher on the glycemic index is considered high glycemic and can increase your insulin level and ultimately contribute to Type 2 diabetes. If this is a concern for you, eat small amounts of pineapple and monitor your reaction to make sure it is a safe food for you to eat. Dried pineapple and canned pineapple packed in syrup are particularly high in sugar, so stick with fresh pineapple or the canned variety packed in juice.
Advantage: Vitamins and Minerals
Pineapple is rich in vitamins and minerals that can help keep your cells healthy and reduce your risk of illness. A 1/2-cup serving of raw pineapple gives you more than 50 percent of your recommended daily intake for vitamin C, as well as nearly 50 percent of the thiamin and vitamin B-6 you need daily. These nutrients benefit your immune system, prevent premature aging and boost your metabolism. Pineapple also contains about 10 percent of your daily value for the bone-building minerals magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
Disadvantage: Skin Irritation
Bromelain is used as a meat tenderizer, so eating large amounts of bromelain-rich pineapple may make your lips sore or swollen. This reaction is usually mild and temporary, but some people are extra sensitive to pineapple and may suffer from more severe side effects, such as swollen tongue, rashes, hives or breathing problems, If you experience these symptoms, avoid eating pineapple, as you may be allergic to it. Additionally, bromelain is a mild blood thinner and eating lots of pineapple may cause bleeding disorders in some people.
Maia Appleby is a NASM-certified personal trainer with more than 15 years of experience in the fitness industry. Her articles have been published in a wide variety of print magazines and online publications, including the Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health, New Moon Network and Bodybuilding.com.