Pineapples are delicious and nutritious — it's no wonder they're a favorite fruit for many. But for some people, eating the sweet fruit can lead to some not-so-sweet stomach problems. But why does pineapple hurt your stomach anyway?
Here are the potential reasons why you may experience pineapple stomach pain, plus tips to help you avoid those aches in the future.
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1. You're Eating Too Much Fiber
Fiber is an essential nutrient that helps regulate your digestion, lowers your risk for diabetes and heart disease and supports weight maintenance, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Fruit is a major source of the nutrient, and pineapple is no exception. In fact, just 1 cup of pineapple supplies nearly 10 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake, per the Cleveland Clinic.
But if you don't typically get your fill of the nutrient every day, eating too much fiber all at once can lead to digestive issues like gas, bloating and cramping, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Fix it: To prevent an upset stomach from all the fiber in pineapple, it's best to ease into eating the nutrient, per the Mayo Clinic. Slowly upping your fiber intake over the course of a few weeks allows your digestive system to adjust to higher doses of the nutrient, which can help you avoid symptoms.
Drinking plenty of water can also help minimize stomach pain and other side effects of eating too much fiber.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat Every Day?
According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim to eat 22 to 34 grams of fiber per day, depending on body size and activity level.
2. You Have a Food Intolerance
Another reason why pineapple hurts your stomach could be that you have a food intolerance, which is when your body has a hard time digesting certain ingredients, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Signs of a food intolerance include:
- Headaches or migraines
- Upset stomach
In some cases, pineapple itself isn't to blame. You may instead have an intolerance to specific sugars in the fruit.
Fix it: Talk to your doctor if pineapple hurts your stomach on the regular. They can help you determine if you have a specific food intolerance or sensitivity.
While there's no tried and true method for how to a cure stomach ache after eating pineapple if you have an underlying tolerance, you can typically prevent pain by reducing or eliminating the trigger food from your diet, per the Cleveland Clinic.
3. You Have an Allergy
An allergy to pineapple isn't common, but it does exist. And if you do have an allergic reaction to the fruit, it can cause the following symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Itchy or tingly mouth
- Hives, itching or eczema
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat or other body parts
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to a particular food, triggering your body to release a disease-fighting antibody called immunoglobulin E, or IgE, per the Mayo Clinic. IgE then stimulates your body to produce histamine and other substances that cause allergic symptoms.
However, a food allergy isn't the same thing as a food intolerance or sensitivity, according to Mayo Clinic. Food intolerances typically lead to digestive issues, whereas allergic reactions tend to produce more respiratory or skin-related symptoms.
Fix it: Tell your doctor if you experienced allergic symptoms after eating pineapple. They can run tests to confirm if you do indeed have a pineapple allergy that affects your stomach. If that's the case, avoiding the fruit altogether can help prevent symptoms, per the Mayo Clinic.
Food allergies can trigger an extreme allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, where your throat swells up and restricts your breathing, according to the Mayo Clinic. Seek medical care immediately if this happens to you.
4. You Have Acid Reflux
Certain foods can aggravate acid reflux, a condition where acid in your stomach persistently leaks back into your esophagus, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Acid reflux — along with the chronic form of the condition, called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — can lead to the following symptoms:
- Heartburn, which can cause the sensation of stomach pain, per the Mayo Clinic
- Feeling of food caught in your throat
- Chest pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Sore throat and hoarseness
Acidic foods are common triggers, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. And while pineapple isn't as acidic as some other fruits (like citrus), it still may cause symptoms for some.
Fix it: Talk to your doctor if pineapple triggers acid reflux for you often. They can help you identify problem foods to limit, and may also prescribe acid-reducing medications or recommend another course of care, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Also, while some limited research has found that pineapple contains melatonin and may therefore help with sleep, you should avoid eating pineapple at night within a few hours of bedtime if you have acid reflux — lying down can worsen GERD symptoms, especially after you've eaten trigger foods.
Other Fruits to Avoid With GERD
Fruits that worsen acid reflux vary from person to person, but acidic fruits are common offenders. According to the Cleveland Clinic, here are some fruits to steer clear of if you have the condition:
- Tomatoes and tomato-based foods
5. You're Sensitive to Bromelain
Pineapple naturally contains a group of enzymes called bromelain, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Bromelain digests proteins, per Mount Sinai, including those found in your mouth (that's why you may have heard that pineapple "eats you back," although this effect isn't harmful).
Though bromelain is typically well-tolerated — in fact, it's sometimes extracted from the fruit and used to help relieve pain and swelling — it can cause an upset stomach for some, per the NCCIH. So if you're wondering why pineapple hurts your stomach, bromelain may be to blame.
Fix it: Check in with your doctor if you regularly get a pineapple-induced upset stomach but your symptoms don't seem to correlate with any of the conditions mentioned above. They can help determine the best way for you to find pineapple stomach pain relief.
- Mayo Clinic: "Food allergy"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Food Intolerance"
- Cleveland Clinic: "GERD (Chronic Acid Reflux)"
- Mayo Clinic: "Indigestion"
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: "GERD Diet: Foods That Help with Acid Reflux (Heartburn)"
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Bromelain"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The Many Health Benefits of Pineapple"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet"
- Mount Sinai: "Bromelain"
- Journal of Pineal Research: "Serum melatonin levels and antioxidant capacities after consumption of pineapple, orange, or banana by healthy male volunteers"
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.