Pineapple isn't just delicious — it also contains natural enzymes that aid in digestion and may relieve stomach upset. Vitamin C, thiamin, folate and other vitamins in pineapple support immune function and overall health. The downside is that some people have a problem with pineapple and diarrhea.
Vitamins in Pineapple
Did you know that pineapple can facilitate weight loss, suppress inflammation and boost immunity? That's right — this delicious fruit does a lot more than just satisfy your sweet tooth. In fact, pineapple nutrition is actually quite good. Each serving (about one cup) supplies the following micro- and macronutrients:
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- 83 calories
- 21.6 grams of carbs
- 2.3 grams of fiber
- 16.3 grams of sugars
- 0.9 grams of protein
- 11 percent of the DV (daily value) of thiamin
- 88 percent of the DV of vitamin C
- 7 percent of the DV of folate
- 5 percent of the DV of niacin
- 67 percent of the DV of manganese
- 20 percent of the DV of copper
- 5 percent of the DV of magnesium
Many dieters mistakenly believe that pineapple is high in sugar. This sweet, juicy fruit actually contains similar amounts of sugar as one serving of pears or one small apple and slightly more than one cup of cubed cantaloupe. What makes it stand out is its high content of vitamin C and bromelain.
According to a July 2016 review published in Biomedical Reports, bromelain exhibits anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and immunomodulatory properties. This enzyme occurs naturally in the pineapple fruit and stems. After ingestion, it's rapidly absorbed into the gut where it stays active for six to nine hours.
As the researchers point out, bromelain may help reduce the side effects of antibiotics and amplify their bioavailability. Additionally, it may inhibit cancer progression, improve immune function and suppress inflammation. This naturally occurring enzyme also helps your body break down protein, as reported in a December 2012 review featured in Biotechnology Research International.
Ascorbic acid, one of the most abundant vitamins in pineapple, scavenges oxidative stress and helps regenerate other antioxidants in your body. Also known as vitamin C, it plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis, protein metabolism, iron absorption and immune function. Furthermore, it may protect against diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other conditions, according to a research paper featured in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology in May 2014.
Can Pineapple Cause Diarrhea?
It's not uncommon to experience bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain after eating pineapple. Like everything else, this fruit has its drawbacks. In general, it's safe when consumed in moderation. However, if you eat too much of it, you may end up with tummy pain.
The review published in Biotechnology Research International states that bromelain protects against infectious diarrhea, a condition caused by E. Coli and other harmful bacteria. This enzyme prevents pathogens from attaching to specific receptors in the gut, which, in turn, may help prevent diarrhea. Additionally, it may help treat digestive disorders, according to Biomedical Reports.
However, there is still a risk of side effects. A January 2017 review published by the Aga Khan University states that, in rare cases, bromelain may cause diarrhea, nausea and abnormal menstrual bleeding. Some people may experience allergic reactions to this natural compound.
Furthermore, bromelain should be avoided before and after surgery as it may increase the risk of bleeding. If you're pregnant, have high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease or bleeding disorders, ask your doctor whether it's safe to eat pineapple or take bromelain supplements.
As mentioned earlier, this fruit also boasts large amounts of vitamin C. The downside is that too much vitamin C can give you diarrhea. Doses above 2,000 or 3,000 milligrams per day may lead to digestive discomfort, nausea, fatigue, headaches and other adverse effects, warns Harvard Health Publishing. Pineapple, though, has only 78.9 milligrams of vitamin C per serving, so it's unlikely to cause diarrhea.
Pineapple Intolerance and Allergic Reactions
Pineapple shouldn't give you tummy trouble when consumed in moderation. While it's true that bromelain may cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting in some people, these side effects are rare. Generally, they tend to occur in those who take bromelain supplements, points out the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
If you have diarrhea after eating pineapple, you might have a food intolerance. Certain fruits, including pineapple, kiwi, avocado, strawberries and citrus fruits, contain salicylates. Some people are sensitive to these compounds, and eating them may cause digestive symptoms, such as bloating, diarrhea and acid reflux. Other food intolerance symptoms may include hives, rashes, heartburn and sleep problems,
Pineapple allergy is common, too, according to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. However, diarrhea isn't an allergic reaction. In this case, you'll most likely experience skin rashes, swelling of the mouth and throat, vomiting, wheezing or difficulty breathing. Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms after eating pineapple or other fruits.
- USDA: "Pineapple"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Apples"
- Biomedical Reports: "Potential Role of Bromelain in Clinical and Therapeutic Applications"
- Biotechnology Research International: "Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain: A Review"
- NIH: "Vitamin C"
- Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology: "Vitamin C in the Treatment and/or Prevention of Obesity"
- Aga Khan University: "Therapeutic Uses of Pineapple-Extracted Bromelain in Surgical Care"
- Harvard.edu: "By the Way, Doctor: What's the Right Amount of Vitamin C for Me?"
- NCCIH: "Bromelain"
- Healthy Eating Advisory Service: "Food Intolerance"
- Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources: "Allergenic Foods and Their Allergens, With Links to Informall"
- Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network: "Allergy - Fruit and Vegetable Allergy"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Pears"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Cantaloupe Melons"