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Does Pineapple Improve Digestion?

by
author image Melodie Anne
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.
Does Pineapple Improve Digestion?
Enjoying fresh pineapple slices is beneficial for digestion. Photo Credit Alexander Petrov/iStock/Getty Images

Pineapple is a tropical fruit grown in warm climates and has a flavor that is both sweet and tart. Enjoying a serving of pineapple helps improve digestion by providing fiber and a certain type of digestive enzyme. While pineapple is beneficial for your digestive tract, it may cause gastrointestinal distress when you consume too much. Include pineapple in your diet, but limit your serving size to avoid discomfort in your gut.

Eating Pineapple

Before eating a fresh pineapple, you need to remove the tough outer rind and stem. These parts of the pineapple are too fibrous for your body to digest. Additionally, you should cut out the inner core from the meat of the fruit. The core is often too difficult to chew and is also hard on your system. Purchasing pre-cut pineapple chunks is another option, so you don't have to worry about peeling your fresh fruit. Canned pineapple is peeled, but it is often stored in a sugary water substance that packs on extra calories.

Fiber

Pineapple is naturally rich in fiber to help improve your digestion. While high-fiber foods usually contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, most of the fiber in pineapple is soluble. This type of fiber attracts water in your gut, slowing down absorption. During this process, your digestive tract is able to absorb all of the vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. The small amount of insoluble fiber in pineapple, which comes from the fibrous veins that require extra chewing, pushes out waste. Insoluble fiber keeps you regular and creates soft easy-to-pass stools. For optimal digestive health, you need to consume 14 grams of total fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat, explains the Colorado State University Extension school. A 1-cup serving of pineapple cubes offers approximately 2.2 grams of total dietary fiber.

Bromelain

Pineapple also has a digestive enzyme called bromelain, which is a mixture of proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes work together to help your digestive system break down and absorb proteins from the foods you eat. Additionally, bromelain from pineapple can help relieve stomach aches, heartburn and diarrhea, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Other Considerations

While pineapple is full of beneficial fiber and bromelain to promote normal digestion, too much at one sitting leads to uncomfortable side effects in some people. If you do not normally consume a lot of high-fiber foods, the sudden intake of fiber from pineapple may upset your stomach. Having a large portion of pineapple piles tons of fiber in your digestive tract, which may lead to diarrhea, or possibly constipation. Additionally, high amounts of bromelain in your gut can cause nausea or diarrhea. Measure out your serving ahead of time to avoid overindulging.

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