Pineapples have hit the big-time in recent years. They’ve been hailed as a health food, and this delicious fruit can now be found in shops around the world. But did you know eating pineapple can help your health in numerous ways?

Here we’ll explain exactly why, as well as show you the other incredible health benefits you’ll get when eating this delicious fruit as part of your vegetarian or vegan diet.

Disclaimer: You must always consult your doctor before including a new supplement or food into your daily routine as only your doctor can explain any pros or cons that are specific to you. Some supplements & foods may interfere with medications and/or cause allergic reactions.

Display of pineapple
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+

The Health Rundown: What Pineapple Could Offer You!

This remarkable food is actually an anti-inflammatory, and is loaded with antioxidants. Both are crucial to keeping your health in check, and can even reverse damage done to your body.

In particular pineapple is high in an enzyme called bromelain which is known to be anti-inflammatory.

This remarkable enzyme only exists in pineapples and has such powerful anti-inflammatory properties that one research study concluded that it “can be used as an effective health supplement to prevent cancer, diabetes, and various cardiovascular diseases in the long run”.

Another study came to the conclusion that bromelain inhibited the growth of colorectal cancer cells, another said there’s potential for it in the treatment of arthritis, and it’s even been touted in research as a treatment for acne!

The enzyme is available throughout the fruit, but can be found in higher concentrations in the stem, core, and in pineapple juice.

Eating pineapple could therefore help fend off many major diseases like heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s which are often linked to chronic inflammation. Therefore incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – like pineapple or kiwi – is a no-brainer.

Pineapple is also a great source of antioxidants – such as Vitamin C. That’s important as antioxidants appear to have a direct effect on sleep quality, as they support the immune system and help promote restfulness at night.

Antioxidant foods also help protect your body and can even reverse damage that has been done by oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress comes about when there’s an imbalance between free radical molecules (which can cause harm) and antioxidants – that imbalance then causes illness and tissue damage. The result can be the development of diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and many others. Therefore eating antioxidant foods – like pineapple or garlic – should be a priority.

The science has been backed up too. Pineapple has been shown to reduce cardiac oxidative stress, and even strengthen bone growth and improve gastrointestinal function.

Pineapple has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Because of that, several studies have shown pineapple to have a positive effect on health, protect against disease, and boost the immune system.

Pineapple For Sleep: The Benefits of Eating Pineapple Before Bed

Pineapples have been cultivated and eaten for generations, and in the 21st century can be found in a wide variety of dishes from fruit salads to pizza!

However eating pineapple before bed can directly help you sleep due to the presence of melatonin in pineapple.

This hormone regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is so important to our sleep health that often individuals who are struggling to sleep – or have been diagnosed with insomnia – are prescribed melatonin.

In fact, in a study looking at fruits that have melatonin, consumption of pineapple was seen to increase melatonin markers in the body by an extraordinary 266%.

Compare that with banana (180%) or orange (47%) and you can see exactly how eating pineapple before bed can top up your natural melatonin levels at the right time.

The reason for that dramatic rise is not just down to the melatonin content of pineapple, but also due to the fact pineapple contains the amino acid tryptophan and mood-enhancing hormone serotonin.

Both have a role to play in inducing sleep, and are needed in order for the body to produce that all-important sleep hormone – melatonin!

It doesn’t end there either. Pineapple also contains magnesium. Why’s that notable? Well, supplementing with magnesium has been shown to help relieve symptoms of insomnia and improve sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset.

It’s also been shown to reduce anxiety – one of the leading causes of insomnia.

Eating pineapple before bed could help sleep quality and onset due to the presence of tryptophan, serotonin melatonin and magnesium. All of which have been shown to have a positive effect on sleep quality.

Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Maryam Sicard

Incorporating Pineapple Into Your Diet

This sweet tropical fruit is a favourite around the world, and is incorporated in both sweet and savoury dishes. Although we recommend eating it in its natural form (and eating the core as well), there are several ways to include pineapple in your diet.

You can include pineapple in a sweet and savoury dish or add some cut up pieces to yoghurt, muesli, bake it in a cake, or include it as part of a fruit salad.

For its full sleep benefits, we recommend eating two or three slices of pineapple an hour before bed, or consider having a small glass of pineapple juice with your evening meal.

What About Potential Side Effects?

If you don’t have a pineapple allergy then moderate consumption of pineapple shouldn’t cause any side effects. However, eating pineapple in excess could result in heartburn, an upset stomach, diarrhoea, and even nausea.

As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor if undertaking a diet change, or if you have concerns about how a specific food may interact with any preexisting conditions or medicines.