Pineapple Juice: What Are the Health Benefits?

The pineapple is an iconic tropical fruit known for its rough and pointy exterior as well as its delicious yellow interior. The fruit has a sweet and tart flavor that makes it a welcome addition to both sweet and savory dishes. Yet while the flesh of the pineapple can be tough and difficult to work with, the juice of the pineapple provides all the flavor and most of the nutrients. Moreover, pineapple juice is easy to store and transport when made into a concentrate. This enables commercial food producers to deliver both the flavor and nutritional value when incorporating it into new recipes. 

Origin of Pineapple Juice     

The pineapple plant (Ananas comosus) is part of the Bromeliaceae family and is native to the area of South America that now encompasses Brazil and Paraguay. It is unclear how long the plant has been domesticated, though there is archaeological evidence that it was cultivated by the ancient Aztecs and Mayas as early as 1200 BCE. Eventually European colonists discovered the fruit and started exporting it back to Europe. It has now become one of the most highly produced tropical fruits and a popular ingredient in different kinds of cuisine all over the world.   

Pineapples are a little bit like oranges in the sense that the juice is valued just as much as the fruit itself. After being extracted from the flesh, the juice can be made into a concentrate or essence and used in a wide variety of applications. In fact, the production processes involved in obtaining the juice probably contributed significantly to the overall boom of the pineapple industry in the early 1930s. Ever since then, pineapple juice has been a mainstay as a breakfast beverage, baking ingredient, and addition to cocktails and drink mixes.  

Nutritional Value of Pineapple Juice   

In terms of nutritional value, the main difference between eating pineapple and drinking pineapple juice is dietary fiber because the actual flesh of the pineapple contains more. The juice retains most of the nutrients, however; one cup of pineapple juice (without added sugars) is 133 calories with 32 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, and trace amounts of fat. That one cup of fruit juice is also a good source of numerous vitamins and minerals:  

Vitamins (% Daily Value)

  • vitamin A (1%)
  • vitamin C (25%)
  • vitamin B6 (5%)
  • thiamine (9%)
  • niacin (2%)
  • folate (1%)

Minerals (% Daily Value)

  • calcium (1%)
  • phosphorus (1%)
  • potassium (3%)
  • manganese (53%)
  • magnesium (4%)

One of the most valuable nutrients contained in pineapple juice is also found in citrus fruits like tangerines, lemons, and limes: vitamin C. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water soluble essential nutrient that is believed to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Another component of pineapple with antioxidant properties is beta-carotene; together with vitamin C, these antioxidants are believed to protect the body from cell damage related to free radicals.  

The Health Benefits of Pineapple Juice

Long before pineapple was a pizza topping or cocktail mixer, it was used as a folk remedy for illnesses. There’s even still a segment of the population that uses pineapple juice to bring relief for coughing. While some uses may be mostly a myth, the fact remains that many of the nutrients contained in pineapple juice are associated with a number of different health benefits: 

  • Heart health: One compound unique to pineapple and other members of the Bromeliaceae family is bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme that is used in cosmetics and as a meat tenderizer, but it is also believed to provide other health benefits related to the cardiovascular system. There is evidence that bromelain may reduce high blood pressure, prevent blood clotting, and even lessen the chances of heart disease. Bromelain may also help break down clots that can form due to high blood cholesterol. 
  • Immune system: Both the bromelain and vitamin C content of pineapple juice can contribute to healthy immune function. In addition to preventing some diseases, these nutrients can potentially improve the recovery process from infections like sinusitis, pneumonia, and bronchitis. 
  • Inflammation: A benefit related to immune system function is inflammation, a common bodily response to pathogens. Some research suggests that bromelain may control inflammation in a way that is comparable to over-the-counter NSAIDs medication yet without the side effects. It has even been studied as a treatment for inflammation related to osteoarthritis and some kinds of surgery.   
  • Cancer prevention: Cell damage from free radicals is one of the suspected causes of many types of cancer, but antioxidants like those found in pineapple juice may actually be able to prevent the development of cancerous cells.
  • Digestive health: Another possible benefit of the bromelain content in pineapple is related to digestive health. In some people whose pancreas don’t make sufficient amounts of digestive enzyme, bromelain may be able to improve digestion. Bromelain, as well as the fiber content, can also limit gut inflammation that can lead to classic digestive symptoms like bloating, constipation, or chronic heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease). 
  • Eye health: One cup of pineapple juice has about 25% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that, among other things, is beneficial for eye health. Vitamin C and beta-carotene are both thought to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Weight loss: Like strawberries, peaches, and other fruits that have high water content, pineapple is a great addition to any weight loss plan. Pineapple juice can also be beneficial for weight loss, however, because it has relatively few calories and contains phytonutrients that make it filling. 

Juices and Concentrates from FruitSmart 

At FruitSmart, juices and concentrates are part of the core of what we do. We use only the best fruits from trusted farmers around the country and around the world. Our high quality ingredients are able to be used in countless different applications from beverages to nutraceuticals. But beyond providing excellent products, we are passionate about developing innovative solutions that allow our clients to deliver taste and quality to their customers. To learn more about what we offer and how to collaborate with FruitSmart, please contact us today.

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