Pineapple is one of the world's most delicious fruits, and it has a unique flavor that sets it apart from every other type of tropical delight. If you've ever eaten a pineapple, you know that these fruits leave your mouth tingling after just a few bites, but you might not know that pineapples are packed full of nutrients that your body needs to thrive. What's more, whether you eat pineapple or apply pineapple extract topically in the form of a facial serum or a moisturizer, the substances in this fruit can help heal your skin and make it shine. Read on to learn more about the impressive ways that pineapples contribute to your health and discover the possible risks associated with ingesting this fruit.
What is the Best Way to Eat a Pineapple?
While pineapples have undeniably delicious innards, they are somewhat imposing from the outside. These tropical fruits are covered with pointy scales, and the spray of leaves you find on the top of a pineapple is anything but edible. While frozen pineapple has plenty of nutritional benefits, it's always best to eat pineapple fresh, and you'll need a sharp knife to prepare your frilly fruit for consumption.
First, cut off the top of the pineapple about an inch below where the scales start. Then, methodically cut off the sides of this fruit. Many pineapple connoisseurs like to end up with a hexagonal fruit, which means that they cut off the scaly skin in six chunks. However, you can just as easily make your finished pineapple octagonal; it's a matter of personal preference. From there, you'll want to cut the pineapple into slices horizontally. Some pineapple eaters prefer to leave it at that, but others go on to liberate smaller chunks of pineapple from this fruit's inedible core.
If you're applying pineapple to your skin, all bets are off. Since this substance is so acidic, you shouldn't apply pure pineapple juice directly to your skin. Unless you're a master of extraction, you should simply use all-natural skin care products that have organic pineapple extract in them already.
Skin BenefitsPineapple offers a lot of benefits to your skin. Here are some examples of the ways that eating this fruit or applying pineapple extract topically can improve your skin health:
Reduces Signs of AgingIf you're starting to get wrinkles or display other signs of aging, pineapple can help you regain your youthful appearance. Pineapple is the only known source of an enzyme called bromelain, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may also reduce the symptoms of hay fever, ulcers, and burns. This fruit is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants known to man.
Health experts recognize that the aging process occurs because the tissues in your body break down, and the main cause behind this tissue breakdown is inflammation. When antioxidants remove free radicals from your body, they reduce the levels of inflammation in your skin, which allows your skin cells to resume their natural process of division and healing. One of the main reasons why your skin starts to look old is that the natural breakdown of body tissues caused by oxidation and inflammation reduces the levels of collagen in your skin, which is an abundant protein that contributes to skin plumpness in your face.
Elastin is another protein that you need to look young, and this substance helps your skin remain firm. When you remove sources of inflammation in your skin, your body starts producing these vital proteins in adequate quantities again, which means that it starts to look firmer and plumper. If you start to notice your skin looking younger after eating a bunch of pineapple, you'll know that you have this fruit's anti-inflammatory qualities to thank.
Anti-AcneInflammation also plays a big role in acne. Some medical researchers believe that the root cause is acne instead of bacteria; they think that inflammation in the pores leads to an inflamed cyst that can become a whitehead, blackhead, or an outright pustule. Other scientists aren't so sure, but they all agree that inflammation always makes acne worse. When your skin is inflamed, your pimples will get bigger and redder, and inflammation also causes your acne to spread across your face. If your skin remains inflamed after your breakout disappears, red spots will remain where you had zits, and your acne scars will last much longer.
If you remove inflammation if your skin by eating or topically applying pineapple, however, your face will become more resistant to acne, and you may even be able to cure your condition. As your skin becomes less inflamed, leftover red spots and scars will heal faster, and existing pimples may shrink or disappear. While many popular over-the-counter acne medications may actually make your condition worse, pineapple is a safe anti-acne treatment that won't cause any side effects if you use it correctly.
Helps Heal Skin
Whatever type of skin damage you may have, pineapple helps heal your skin tissues. Pineapple offers this benefit because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; inflammation prevents your skin from healing itself effectively, and when inflammation is removed from the picture, your skin can heal and renew itself without any interference.
Health BenefitsHere are some of the ways that eating pineapple helps with your general health and well-being:
Arthritis AidArthritis affects more than 50 million Americans, and severe joint pain characterizes this uncomfortable condition. While there are many types of arthritis, they are all inflammation-related, and reducing inflammation can help with the symptoms of this disease. Both the bromelain and vitamin C in pineapple reduce inflammation throughout the body, and more than 50 years of research back up the potential of bromelain to treat arthritis. One study even found that a bromelain supplement provided just as much relief from arthritis as popular arthritis medications such as diclofenac. Even so, it's not clear whether bromelain supplements are safe for long-term consumption; it's probably best to stick to the bromelain that you can derive naturally from fresh pineapple.
Digestive BoostBromelain is also a protease, which is a term used to refer to a class of enzymes that break down proteins. While proteins are full of the nutrients that you need to thrive, your digestive system has a hard time breaking down these substances, and proteases like bromelain make it easier for your gastrointestinal tract to break down proteins. While proteases are helpful for anyone's digestion, they are even more vital for people with pancreatic insufficiency, which is a condition in which the pancreas can't make enough digestive enzymes. Bromelain is such a powerful protease, in fact, that many companies produce it as a commercial meat tenderizer.
Reduces Your Risk of CancerThe bromelain in pineapple may even protect you from cancer. Medical researchers have established that bromelain slows the growth of cancer cells, and it also stimulates the death of these dangerous cells. Studies have also shown that bromelain stimulates the immune system to create substances that boost the ability of white blood cells to suppress cancer cells and limit their growth. It is, however, worth pointing out that fresh pineapples contain much less bromelain than supplements, but eating a fresh pineapple from time to time can still protect you from cancer or even slow the growth of this disease if you already have it.
Medical research has established that children who eat pineapple have healthier immune systems than children who don't eat pineapple. Notably, the children who participated in these studies who ate pineapple had almost four times as many white blood cells as those who didn't. Other studies have established that children who take bromelain supplements recover from sinus infections much faster than those who don't, and since inflammation plays a big role in suppressing the effects of the immune system, the anti-inflammatory effects of pineapple also help boost your immune health.
Helps with RecoveryWhen you endure strenuous exercise, you damage your body's muscular tissues, and you can sometimes damage other tissues as well. While most people believe that the benefits of intensive exercise outweigh the costs, it's important to follow effective recovery practices to make sure that you don't develop chronic conditions from exercising. Inflammation plays a big role in hampering your ability to recover from exercise, and since the bromelain and vitamin C in pineapple reduce inflammation throughout your body, eating a little bit of pineapple after you exercise could help you recover quickly.
Pineapple also helps patients recover from surgery. For instance, a study found that patients who took a bromelain supplement before dental surgery experienced less pain and recovered more quickly than those who didn't. Since the safety of bromelain supplements isn't clear, however, it's probably best to consume pineapple before and after surgery. Fresh pineapple also contains vitamin C, which isn't present in bromelain supplements.
Boosts Eye HealthWhile there are plenty of fruits and veggies out there that contain more of this substance than pineapple, this fruit is a good source of beta-carotene. Research indicates that beta-carotene can prevent macular degeneration, which is a disease that affects many older and elderly people in the developed world. Beta-carotene also improves your general eye health, and it may improve your ability to see if you suffer from nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Improves Bone StrengthPineapples contain plenty of manganese, which is a trace mineral that plays a key role in maintaining the strength of your bones. Manganese also helps your bones repair themselves when they become damaged, and it assists in bone growth in children. A single serving of pineapple contains about 70 percent of your recommended daily manganese intake, and it becomes even more clear that you should eat plenty of pineapple when you realize that manganese also helps your pancreas create enzymes.
Risk of Eating a Pineapple?Pineapple is generally a safe substance, but you should keep a few things in mind as you find a ripe fruit that will meet your expectations. For instance, if you eat an unripe pineapple, you might become sick; unripe pineapples are pale yellow or green in color, and you can always tell if one of these fruits isn't ripe enough to eat by checking the flesh of a pineapple. If the flesh is soft and yielding, it's probably safe to eat, but if it's hard, it's probably unripe. Eating an unripe pineapple can cause serious digestive issues, and while these issues usually clear up relatively quickly, they aren't anything you want to deal with if you don't have to.
Also, make sure that you don't eat the cores of pineapples. If you eat too many of these cores, you can develop fibrous balls in your digestive tract, which interfere with digestion and can cause serious discomfort. You should also make sure that you aren't allergic to pineapples before you eat this fruit, and it's important to keep in mind that the bromelain in pineapple can interact negatively with a number of prescription drugs. If you're using antibiotics, benzodiazepines, blood thinners, or any other prescription drugs, always check with your doctor before you eat pineapple.
The same factors that make pineapple a great meat tenderizer can also cause issues if you eat too much of this fruit. Eating large quantities of pineapple (especially fresh pineapple) can make your mouth tender or even painful. However, this problem usually resolves itself within a few hours. If negative symptoms related to eating pineapple persist, however, you may have an allergy, and you should consult with a doctor immediately.