Pineapples are great on so many levels, even Sponge Bob decided to make one his home. Jokes aside, this tropical fruit really is very beneficial for your health and soul. The sweet aroma with just the right amount of a sour kick is easy to love. But most importantly, pineapples are so ridiculously good for you that few other fruits can match.
Personally, I like pineapple in any form – whole, juiced, or even just as candy flavor. But here I’ll only focus on the liquid form of the delightful plant. I’ll tell you everything you should know about drinking pineapple juice – what exactly your body gets out of it, what are some issues you might come across, and whether store-bought and fresh-squeezed pineapple juice are equally good for you.
Water is the source of life – literally. Nothing can live without water, and in fact, all living things consist of water to a certain degree. As for humans, we’re approximately 60% water. Pineapples – 87%. Yep – despite being an incredibly nutritious plant, only 13% of pineapples is NOT water. And that’s great news!
Drinking pineapple juice (or water from any other source) will keep you hydrated. In turn, that will make sure your body functions as it should. Water helps you flush out waste, and it also essentially keeps you alive by helping regulate your body temperature and keeping your brain working well. Water is so essential, that you desperately need it to stay alive and well. So, drink up!
Sugars get a bad rap, but the truth is not that simple. Natural, unprocessed sugars exist in every plant, and these can be a great source of energy and nutrition for your body. The truth is that sugars and other carbohydrates are the ideal sources of “quick” energy for our bodies.
That’s not to say that sugars are all fine and dandy. In fact, there are two issues you should be careful with: the amount and the type of sugars you consume.
You should match the number of sugars you consume to your energy expenditure because all energy that isn’t spent is transformed into glycogen and stored away in our cells. We get fat when this process repeats over and over.
The type of sugar you consume also matters very much. There’s a huge difference between natural sugars in plants and the processed sugars that you get in candy and carbonated drinks. Let’s take a look:
- Glucose – this is the name for the sugar in your blood. This is a very simple sugar that is metabolized very quickly. If you’ve heard about dextrose, you might have heard that it’s one of the quickest sources of energy. Well, glucose and dextrose are chemically the same, but glucose is inside our blood, and dextrose is derived from corn.
- Fructose – this type of sugar is the one that’s naturally present in fruits, veggies, and honey. This natural sugar is rarely a health concern (unless you’re diabetic) because it’s accompanied by fibers and nutrients. This sugar is transformed into glucose inside our livers.
- Sucrose – this is another name for table sugar. In fact, this type of sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. When you consume this type of sugar, the enzymes of your body separate the two types of sugar and process them individually. Even though it does appear naturally in some fruits, sucrose is most commonly consumed as regular table sugar. Sucrose has a lot of calories, so moderation is very important.
- HFCS – this abbreviation stands for high-fructose corn syrup. This is one of the most common sources of sweetness in the food industry. HFCS is used in most processed foods like sodas, candy, and cereals. The issue with HFCS is that it’s easy to consume huge amounts, which is hard for the body to process. In fact, this type of sugar is a key factor in obesity around the globe. As with sucrose, moderation is extremely important with HFCS.
Fresh-made pineapple juice contains around 1 gram of sugar per 10 mL of juice – which means that one cup (240 mL or 8 ounces) contains about around 24 grams of sugar. This is actually quite a lot. For comparison, a 1.56 ounce Snickers bar contains 20 grams of sugar. The difference is that your body metabolizes pineapple sugar much easier and the juice is packed with other healthful nutrients, which makes it an overall great choice for a snack.
3. Vitamins and Minerals
When you think “healthy”, chances are that you automatically think of vitamins and minerals. Well, pineapples contain an incredible amount of healthful stuff. This includes vitamins C and B6, manganese, thiamine, folate, beta carotene, copper, and bromelain, among other stuff.
3.1. Vitamin C
You surely know that vitamin C is among the most important micronutrients that help maintain your wellbeing. Well, a cup of pineapple juice contains about 14% of the recommended daily dose of this vitamin.
First of all, this vitamin boosts your immune system and keeps you healthy. If you have any wounds, vitamin C will help your body heal. Additionally, it’s an important factor in the absorption of iron.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, along with beta carotene which is also present in pineapples, and these two are fantastic at keeping your skin radiant and young – they improve skin recovery from sun and pollution damage. Furthermore, vitamin C is also a great help in the formation of collagen, which not only keeps your skin wrinkle-free and elastic, but it also keeps your joints healthy.
Thiamine is also known as vitamin B1, and it’s one of the important nutrients that helps your body generate energy. It’s important for the development and normal function of cells, so this micronutrient is very important for normal body functioning as well.
A single cup of fresh pineapple juice contains approximately 12% of the recommended daily intake of thiamine.
If you’re looking for a great source of manganese, pineapple juice is a perfect pick, since a single cup contains 2.5 mg or a whopping 55% of the recommended daily dose of this mineral.
This mineral is important for keeping chemical processes in your body normal. It has many benefits, so it helps connective tissue and bone strength, maintains your metabolism and blood sugar, decreases inflammations, and much more. Along with other trace minerals, manganese is an important factor in preventing osteoporosis post-menopause, and in younger women, it can help reduce menstrual cramps.
Bromelain is the reason why your mouth and tongue might feel tender after eating or drinking pineapple. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down protein, so it’s a great help in the digestive process. It aids in treating osteoarthritis, too. It also reduces blood coagulation, so pineapple juice is beneficial to people who are at risk of blood clotting or those that fly often.
Pineapples Are Not Harmless
Even though pineapple juice is incredibly healthy and very good for your overall health, some people might need to avoid this tropical fruit. There are three things you should consider before you add pineapple juice to your regular diet:
- Bromelain may interfere with your medication – as I mentioned earlier, this enzyme reduces blood coagulation. If you don’t take medication, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you’re using antibiotics, blood thinners, antidepressants, or anticonvulsants, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist before making pineapple juice a kitchen staple.
- It can make acid reflux symptoms worse – if you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux on a regular basis, any tropical or citrus fruit can make it worse. And sadly, that includes pineapples as well.
- You might be allergic to it – If you have a latex allergy, chances are that you might be allergic to pineapple, strawberries, and avocadoes too.
Store-bought Pineapple Juice vs Fresh Juiced Pineapple Juice
When you make fresh juice (whether you have a centrifugal, masticating, or even a small juicer for compact kitchens), it can last at most three days in the fridge. But when you get a box or bottle of pineapple juice in a store, it can last as much as a year.
The process that makes such a dramatic difference is pasteurization. Pasteurization is not harmful at all, but it does destroy some of the good stuff in your juice. This is a sort of cooking in very controlled settings that kills the right bacteria, allowing the juice to stay fresh for a longer time. However, bacteria are not the only thing that gets destroyed during this process. Many vitamins and antioxidants suffer, especially vitamin C that can be destroyed even at slightly raised temperatures. Because of that, you don’t get all the nutrients normally present in pineapples in a juice box.
A side effect of pasteurization is that some of the flavors of the natural juice are lost. That’s why fresh juice is always tastier than store-bought. To make up for this loss of aroma, juice companies add sugar. Some add more, some less, but in the end, they usually add at least some sucrose or even HFCS. As I mentioned before, this type of sugar is much worse for your health than the sugars naturally present in pineapples.
So, to summarize: it’s always better if you can make fresh juice. Its nutritional value is intact, and you get the most authentic, wonderful flavor of pineapple. If you don’t really have the time to make fresh juice, you can always pick a box that says “no sugar added” – while you won’t get all the beneficial nutrients of fresh-juiced fruit, you won’t be consuming unnecessary extra calories either.
All in All
Fresh peeled and cut chunks of fresh fruit is definitely the best snack you can pick – you get to enjoy all the health benefits that nature has created for you. However, drinking juice is a great alternative. Even though you may miss out on some fiber, you get plenty of untouched nutrients that will make you feel reinvigorated and refreshed. If you don’t have the time to make your own juice, picking up a box of pineapple juice instead of a soda from a store shelf is a good pick too – just remember that these juices contain additional sugars, so you shouldn’t consume them on a daily basis.