Since pineapple was first introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus and later to America by colonists in the 17th century, the fruit has been a popular treat and a symbol of hospitality. Although pineapple juice contains healthy vitamins, minerals and enzymes, it has also developed a reputation as a cure for many ailments and conditions. Myths about pineapple juice abound, ranging from its use as a weight loss aid to its ability to induce labor.
Drinking pineapple juice is believed to help lower your cholesterol levels, although a study published in December 2005 in the “Medical Science Monitor” refutes that claim. The researchers investigated pineapple juice -- along with grapefruit and orange juice -- on laboratory rats and discovered that pineapple juice had no effect on total blood cholesterol levels or the secretion and metabolism of very low density lipoprotein, a form of unhealthy cholesterol.
Pineapple juice contains the enzyme bromelain, often thought to prevent muscle soreness after an intense workout, yet scientists at Indiana State University were unable to produce those results. Their study, published in the “Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine” in November 2002, showed that subjects who participated in an upper body resistance-training program and took bromelain had no difference in elbow flexor pain or loss of range of motion from those in the control groups.
Pregnancy and Labor
Many women and even midwives believe that drinking pineapple juice will induce labor, primarily due to the prostaglandins the juice contains. Prostaglandin is the hormone released to start labor and soften the cervix. The prescription drug Cervidil, often used to induce labor by doctors, contains 10 milligrams of prostaglandins, and you would need to eat up to seven whole fresh pineapples in one sitting to come close to that same amount, with no guarantee of success.
Some celebrities claim that daily pineapple juice helps keep them trim. Those who believe in pineapple’s weight-loss ability point to its bromelain content as a natural fat burner. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes it is a myth that any single food, let alone pineapple juice, can help you burn fat and lose weight. Fresh pineapple can be part of a healthy diet of eating less and exercising more to help you shed excess pounds, but pineapple juice is often loaded with added sugar and high in calories, with many of its nutrients lost in processing.
- University of Central Florida: The Pineapple, "Princess of Fruits" and Symbol of Hospitality
- Medical Science Monitor: Effect of Acute and Chronic Grapefruit, Orange, and Pineapple Juice Intake on Blood Lipid Profile in Normolipidemic Rat; C.F. Daher, et al.; December 2005
- Drugs.com: Pineapple
- Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine: Preliminary Comparison of Bromelain and Ibuprofen for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness Management
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Weight Loss and Nutrition Myths
- Drugs.com: Cervidil