With its rough and textured skin and a crown of spiky green leaves, the pineapple doesn’t appear to be a very appealing fruit from the outside. But once you cut the citrus fruit open, it presents a vibrant yellow, juicy flesh with a sweet flavor and delicious aroma. Although the fruit is bursting with healthy nutrition, too much pineapple can produce unpleasant side effects.
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Packed full of vitamin C and low in calories, pineapple can be a healthy addition to nearly any diet. One slice of the juicy fruit contains roughly 60 calories, with a small amount of sodium. However, it’s free of fat and cholesterol. With just over 1 gram of fiber per 100 g of fruit, pineapple can also help maintain a healthy digestive system. Pineapple is a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A and folate. Pineapple is also an excellent source of vitamin C, with approximately 100 mg of vitamin C in just two slices of the fruit.
Along with its many nutrients, pineapple also contains bromelain, an enzyme that digests protein. Derived from the fruit’s stem and juice, this enzyme is used to treat an extensive array of medical conditions. Bromelain can reduce inflammation, swelling, bruising and pain associated with muscle, tendon and skin injuries. Because it helps digest proteins, the enzyme can also be used to relieve digestive disorders and heartburn.
After eating a large amount of pineapple, you might experience swelling or tenderness on the lips, inner cheeks and tongue. Typically, this reaction is caused by pineapple's meat-tenderizing properties, and it should resolve itself within a few hours. However, if the swelling is accompanied by a rash, hives or difficulty breathing, it could indicate a pineapple allergy. In this case, stop eating and seek medical attention immediately.
Taking in too much vitamin C is generally quite safe. As a water-soluble vitamin, excess vitamin C is generally excreted through the urine. However, extremely high doses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, heartburn, headaches and insomnia. Taking in too much of the fruit’s bromelain can result in skin rash, vomiting, diarrhea and excessive menstrual bleeding. Large doses of the enzyme could also stimulate uterine contractions, potentially leading to miscarriages in pregnant women.
The bromelain in pineapple could potentially interact with certain medications. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends consulting your physician before eating pineapple or taking bromelain supplements if you are currently taking antibiotics, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, blood thinners, insomnia drugs and tricyclic antidepressants. Alcohol and certain herbs, such as valerian root or kava, might also interact with bromelain.
Eating the fruit or drinking the juice of an unripe pineapple can be extremely dangerous. In fact, the Drugs.com website explains that it’s quite toxic to humans, often causing excessive diarrhea and severe vomiting.