Pineapple, the leading edible member of the family bromeliaceae, comes in various forms that include fresh, frozen, canned, and dried. A cup of pineapple chunks meets the daily vitamin C requirements for most people. Pineapple contains other healthy nutrients, including potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, as well as dietary fiber.
Understanding Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested by your body. Unlike most carbohydrates, fiber cannot be degraded into simple sugars. Instead, it goes through your body undigested. Fiber exists in two different varieties -- soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber attracts water and turns into a gel during digestion, while insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Children and adults should aim to get 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day for optimal health, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Fiber Content of Pineapple
Overall, pineapple provides a little more than 2 grams of fiber per cup of fruit. Raw pineapple chunks or slices provide 2.3 grams of fiber in a 1-cup portion, while a cup of frozen pineapple chunks contains 2.7 grams, according to the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. One cup of pineapple juice provides 0.5 grams of fiber. On the other hand, a 1-cup serving of canned crushed, sliced or chunk pineapple in heavy syrup offers 2 grams of fiber.
Benefits of Dietary Fiber
Insoluble fiber binds with water and makes your stools bulkier and softer, helping them to move quickly through your digestive tract. This helps reduce your risk for constipation, diverticulosis and hemorrhoids. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, slows the absorption of starch and sugar by slowing digestion. It may also help reduce blood cholesterol levels, particularly LDL cholesterol, by binding with them and carrying them out of the body as waster.
Before eating pineapple, remove its crown, rind, eyes and core. Pineapple makes a wonderful addition to meat dishes, salads, desserts and compotes. Pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme that helps tenderize meat. Use pineapple as a garnish on ham or use it in puddings, pies, cakes, fruit cocktail and curries. Pineapple chunks go well with pizza, chicken or tuna salad. Add pineapple to kabobs as part of a barbecue meal. Coleslaw gets a burst of flavor from this tropical fruit.