Pineapple juice has become an increasingly popular beverage in recent years due to its sweet, tropical taste and potential health benefits. But what does drinking pineapple juice actually do for you? Here, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the effects of drinking pineapple juice.
Nutritional Profile of Pineapple Juice
First, let’s examine the nutritional makeup of pineapple juice. An 8 ounce serving of unsweetened pineapple juice typically contains:
|Vitamin C||131% DV|
|Vitamin B6||10% DV|
As you can see, pineapple juice is high in carbohydrates and natural sugar. It’s also very high in vitamin C and provides good amounts of manganese. Smaller amounts of B vitamins, copper, folate, and potassium round out the nutritional profile.
Health Benefits of Pineapple Juice
May Support Immune Function
Pineapple juice is packed with vitamin C, providing 131% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) in an 8 ounce serving. Vitamin C is well known for its role in supporting immune function. It promotes the production and function of white blood cells, your body’s main line of defense against infection.
Getting enough vitamin C is especially important when you’re sick, as your needs increase when fighting an infection. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, protecting your cells against damage from harmful free radicals.
Drinking pineapple juice is an easy way to increase your vitamin C intake and give your immune system an extra boost.
May Reduce Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is linked to several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
Pineapple juice contains bromelain, a group of enzymes with anti-inflammatory properties. Test-tube studies demonstrate that bromelain reduces markers of inflammation and suppresses the activation of certain cells involved in inflammation.
Human studies also associate bromelain supplements with reduced inflammation and pain, especially in people with arthritis. However, research is limited on the anti-inflammatory effects of pineapple juice specifically.
The bromelain content of pineapple juice varies based on the processing method. Centrifugal juicing systems seem to retain the most bromelain activity, while heat treatments like pasteurization may inactivate some of the enzymes.
More research is needed on how processing impacts the anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple juice. Still, incorporating moderate amounts of fresh or minimally processed juice may help reduce inflammation.
May Improve Digestion
Pineapple juice contains bromelain, a group of digestive enzymes that help break down proteins. Bromelain may improve digestion by decreasing inflammation, fighting infection, and increasing absorption of nutrients.
Test-tube studies indicate that bromelain may also help protect against gut inflammation and damage in people with inflammatory bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis.
Keep in mind that most available pineapple juice has been pasteurized, which can inactivate bromelain and reduce its digestive benefits. However, drinking fresh or minimally processed juice containing active bromelain enzymes could aid your digestion.
May Benefit Heart Health
Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. Lifestyle factors like diet have a major impact on your heart disease risk.
Some research suggests that eating more fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants can reduce markers of heart disease risk. The nutrients in pineapple juice, particularly vitamin C and bromelain, may benefit heart health by reducing risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
One study in 45 adults with excess weight and high cholesterol found that drinking an 8-ounce (240-ml) glass of pineapple juice daily for 3 months significantly lowered bad LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol.
However, more human-based research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.
Easy Way to Boost Your Vitamin C Intake
Pineapple juice provides an excellent source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient with many roles in your health. Just 1 cup (240 ml) packs over 100% of the RDI for vitamin C.
Vitamin C is water-soluble, meaning your body doesn’t store it. Plus, it’s easily lost during food storage and preparation methods like canning and high heat cooking.
Drinking a glass of pineapple juice is an easy and delicious way to increase your daily vitamin C intake and meet your needs for this critical nutrient.
Potential Downsides of Drinking Pineapple Juice
Despite the many purported benefits, drinking too much pineapple juice may have some downsides:
High in Sugar
While pineapple juice contains beneficial nutrients, it’s also high in natural sugars. An 8-ounce (240-ml) serving packs around 25 grams of sugar.
Consuming too many high-sugar beverages like juice may increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
To keep your sugar intake in check, limit your portion sizes of pineapple juice and avoid drinking it in excess.
May Irritate Mouth and Throat
Pineapple juice contains bromelain, a mixture of enzymes that help break down proteins. While bromelain has benefits when consumed, some people may experience irritation or discomfort when pineapple enzymes come in contact with the lining of their mouth and throat.
Drinking diluted or cooled pineapple juice and limiting intake may help reduce these side effects.
Risk of Tooth Erosion
Like other acidic drinks, the high acidity in pineapple juice could promote erosion of tooth enamel over time. Enamel erosion thin the outer coating of your teeth, increasing sensitivity and risk of decay.
To help prevent tooth erosion, avoid swishing juice around in your mouth, rinse your mouth with water after drinking acidic beverages, and limit acidic drinks to mealtimes as part of a balanced diet.
Who May Need to Limit Intake
While pineapple juice is linked to some benefits, certain people may want to moderate their intake or avoid it altogether.
Sensitive to Bromelain Enzymes
Those sensitive or allergic to bromelain enzymes may experience adverse effects from drinking pineapple juice. These can include itching, hives, swelling, and breathing difficulties in severe cases.
Discontinue drinking pineapple juice if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Pineapple juice is fairly acidic, with a pH around 3.2–4.0. Acidic foods and drinks may exacerbate symptoms in those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
If you have frequent heartburn or reflux, limit or avoid drinking pineapple juice. Choose less acidic beverages instead.
At Risk of Tooth Erosion
If you’re prone to tooth erosion, drinking acidic juices like pineapple juice could make matters worse. Those at high risk include people with eating disorders, acid reflux, dry mouth, or teeth with worn enamel.
Talk with your dentist if you’re concerned about tooth erosion, and consider limiting acidic drinks like pineapple juice.
On Blood Thinner Medications
Bromelain may thin the blood by decreasing platelet aggregation. People taking blood-thinning medications like warfarin or aspirin should speak with their healthcare provider before adding large amounts of pineapple products to their diet.
However, drinking moderate amounts of juice as part of a balanced diet should not be an issue for most people on blood thinners.
The Bottom Line
Pineapple juice contains disease-fighting antioxidants, digestion-boosting enzymes, and immune-supporting vitamin C. It may reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and benefit heart health.
However, pineapple juice is high in sugar, so drinking too much can come with negative effects. It’s also acidic and may irritate those with reflux or sensitive teeth.
For most people, incorporating a small glass of unsweetened pineapple juice into a balanced diet should come with benefits without the risk of adverse effects.
As a refreshing, nutrient-rich beverage, pineapple juice can be a healthy addition to your diet when consumed in moderation.