Nutritional benefits of pineapples

A pineapple is rich in fibre, which is why it is an effective natural remedy for constipation.

A pineapple is a delicious tropical fruit that should have a place on your plate of fruits; due to its nutrients, it promotes a healthy complexion, increases energy, regulates blood pressure, cuts unwanted fat, cures coughs and colds, and also lowers risks of acquiring a number of diseases.

Rene Tabaro, a senior nutritionist and dietician at Oshen-King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, says that a pineapple is a fruit which contains water, fibre, vitamin C, B1, B6 and folic acid. The folic acid helps the body make healthy new cells. Due to the high levels of water it contains, it can facilitate body rehydration.

He adds that Vitamin C is crucial for growth and development; it helps in healthy immune system and assists in the absorption of iron from the diet. Vitamin C helps to improve the immunity of cancer patients.

“Pineapples also contain manganese, a mineral that aids growth and maintains a healthy metabolism. They are also a good source of antioxidants, thus reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers,” he notes.

Private Kamanzi, a dietician at Amazon Wellness Centre, Remera, says that pineapples don’t have fats and cholesterol, yet low in sodium; this lowers chances of developing heart diseases and obesity.

Tabaro explains that pineapples ease digestion since they contain a group of digestive enzymes known as bromelain, which breaks down proteins; they also have anti-inflammatory properties that may boost the immune system.

A pineapple is rich in fibre, which is why it is an effective natural remedy for constipation. You can eat pineapples as fruits or extract the juice, either way, it is effective, he adds.

Some studies have shown that bromelain, mainly in the stem, can reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain linked with injury and surgical intervention.

Tabaro further says that pineapples facilitate bowel transit, (time test measures of how long it takes for food to travel through the digestive tract), and also help to obliterate free radicals in the body, thus boosting the immune system.

“Pineapples also have high concentration of calcium which prevents bone diseases, while vitamin A acts as an antioxidant that improves vision. The daily recommendation intake of pineapples is three per cent of the potassium the body needs. Two grams of pineapples per day are equivalent to eight per cent of the fibre the body requires a day,” Kamanzi says.

Tabaro states that pineapples contain mineral salts like potassium, magnesium, iron and sodium that help to improve the immunity and, also assist in reducing fat for obese people through the vitamin C they hold.

However, Tabaro says, you should do away with pineapples or take them in moderation if you have wounds in your mouth and ulcers, as they have acids that might burn you. You shouldn’t also take pineapples on an empty stomach because of the citric acid in them.

Diabetes patients who have hyperglycaemia should limit consumption of pineapples because it can increase hyperglycaemia; and those with pulmonary edema due to chronic kidney diseases should not take pineapples in excess. If you have diarrhoea, avoid pineapples as they may increase intestinal transit due to the fibre they contain, he notes.

Kamanzi says that you can mix pineapples in a smoothie like pawpaw, banana, avocado, and add soya milk to reduce the acid. Shun taking pineapples in large quantities because they can increase the acid, hence rising the gastric acid in the body. Take a quarter of a pineapple a day.

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