As you brace yourself against the cold, tropical pineapple is probably the farthest thing from your mind. But if you’re a pineapple fan, you’ll be pleased to hear this tangy taste of summer actually has a winter season – and there are plenty of reasons to pop it on your shopping list. Packed with powerful nutrients like vitamin C, bromelain and antioxidants, here’s why nutritionist and dietitian Joanna Shinewell wants us reaching for this delicious fruit.
Some of the key nutrients in pineapples can keep your immune system strong. Antioxidants fight free radicals that are produced in response to stress, infection, pollution and a poor diet. Vitamin C helps boost you iron and zinc absorption – two minerals that strengthen your immune system and increase resistance to infection. Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory and has been shown to relieve symptoms of arthritis, sinusitis and a sore throat.
A good place to start your gut boosting regime is with bromelain, a nutrient only found in pineapple that helps us break down and absorb protein. It can also reduce inflammation in the bowel for those with irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive health issues. A high fibre diet will help the digestive system by supporting regular bowel movements. Some of the fibre in pineapples is a prebiotic called fructan that stimulates growth and activity of good probiotic bacteria in the large intestine. New research has linked gut bacteria to many areas of good health including mental health, cardiovascular health, immune function, lowering risk of chronic diseases and improved increased mineral absorption.
There is growing evidence that vitamin C and polyphenols can protect the skin from sun damage and reduce skin ageing caused by free radicals. Vitamin C encourages collagen growth and promotes elasticity in the skin. Bromelain can help reduce inflammation caused by sun damage or general abrasion or damage to the skin. Being largely water, pineapples can help hydrate the skin and assist with flushing toxins from the body.
Pineapple is a fatigue fighter with energy boosting nutrients like vitamin C, manganese and sugars. Yes, pineapple contains sugar, but it is low-GI and produces a slow and long energy release. Manganese helps your body produce energy while vitamin C boosts the absorption of iron, a nutrient that aids in transporting oxygen around the body to improve muscle function.