The summer is heating up, and the rising temperatures make me think of refreshing citrus. Pineapple tastes great in mixed drinks, doesn’t it? Even when you nix the alcohol, pineapple is still a delicious fruit, and has many unexpected benefits you probably don’t know about. Check out these benefits of pineapple before you head out to the grocery store to stock up on this intriguing fruit!

1. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals.

Major news flash: fruit is good for you! Yeah, yeah, yeah—that’s common knowledge. But check out the goods on pineapples: they’re loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. While it’s rich in fiber and calories, it’s low in fat and cholesterol. This makes it a great, nutritious fruit to add to your diet to improve and maintain your health.

2. It strengthens bones.

Pineapple contains manganese, a mineral necessary for your body to build strong bones and connective tissues. You don’t even need that much of the fruit—one cup of pineapple gives your body 73 percent of the manganese it needs!

3. It improves digestion.

Bromelain is an extract found in pineapple stems, and works to neutralize fluids to make sure they’re not too acidic. Bromelain also regulates the pancreatic secretions that aid digestion. You can keep your digestive tract healthy because it is high in protein-digesting properties.

4. It keeps gums healthy.

You brush your teeth several times a day, but do you pay attention to your gums? Because pineapple has such a high vitamin C content, eating the fruit lowers your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease not only destroys gum tissue and jaw bones, but has been linked to heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Including more vitamin C in your diet improves your body’s ability to fight invading bacteria that contributes to these diseases.

5. It alleviates arthritis.

Pineapple has anti-inflammatory qualities, so including the fruit in your diet can alleviate the pain of arthritis, along with similar conditions, like gout and carpal tunnel syndrome. It also can help improve the condition overall by strengthening your bones.

6. It prevents hypertension.

If you’re trying to ease your high blood pressure, or want to avoid getting it, then eat a lot of pineapple. Because pineapples have a high amount of potassium and a low amount of sodium, your body will maintain normal blood pressure levels.

7. It has anti-cancer properties.

There might not be a cure for cancer, but there are things that can help you prevent it, and pineapple is one of those things. Because pineapples are so full of antioxidants, they help fight against free radicals. Free radicals are groups of atoms that do major damage when they come in contact with your cell membranes or DNA. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from doing damage in your body by keeping cells healthy. Because antioxidants prevent cell damage, they lower your risk of cancer because your cells are stronger.

8. It prevents coughs and colds.

The pineapple is rich in vitamin C, which means it naturally boosts your immune system. This helps you fight off coughs and colds. Even if you’re already sick, you can still reap the benefits of pineapple because it contains bromelain, which loosens mucus and suppresses coughs.

9. It lowers risk of macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is caused by damage to the retina, and is the primary cause of vision loss in adults. As you age, macular degeneration makes it harder for you to recognize faces, read, see street signals, and similarly hinder other everyday activities. If you add pineapple in your regular diet, you can lower your risk for this disease by up to 36 percent! This is because pineapple is full of beta carotene, which is good for your sight.

10. It stays fresher longer.

After bringing your pineapple home from the store, you can keep it on the counter at room temperature for a day or two before cutting. This doesn’t affect the taste, but makes the fruit softer and juicier. If you’re not ready to eat the pineapple after two days, wrap it in plastic and it will stay good in the refrigerator for three to five more days. However, once you cut up the pineapple and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge (preferably with some juice keeping it moist), it will stay good—and nutritious!—for six to nine days! That means you can make a delicious fruit salad and eat it every day for lunch for a week, and still get just as many of these benefits as you would with fresh cut pineapple!

11.  It’s a good weight loss food.

Pineapple has a delicious, natural sweetness that makes it taste like a dessert on its own. As an added bonus, pineapple is low in calories, sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats, while being a good source of fiber. This makes it the perfect weight loss food because it’s a healthy, filling, and tasty snack!

12. It relieves nausea.

A key benefit from pineapple juice intake is that it averts nausea or morning sickness. This is quite useful for pregnant women who usually experience nausea. It also helps people who are looking to go on airplane trips that usually cause motion sickness.

Featured photo credit: CIAT via flickr.com

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