Unmasking the Surprising Side Effects of Pineapple Consumption
Explore the side effects of pineapple and learn how to maintain a balanced diet. Learn about the drawbacks and how to enjoy this fruit for optimal health.
Pineapple, scientifically known as Ananas comosus is a sweet and sour tropical fruit that has a distinct taste owing to a number of volatile compounds that it possesses (1). Additionally, the powerful presence of essential nutrients, however beneficial, may trigger certain side effects of pineapple when consumed in higher concentrations. So, as we all know moderation is key, there is a daily recommended dosage of pineapple that can prevent you from consuming excessive amounts of nutrients.
The agricultural and manufacturing industries producing pineapple plants and products based on pineapples as well as their wastes are rapidly growing. This is because it offers an array of potential health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, nervous system regulation, enhanced digestion, weight management, and more. So, you may find too many products in the grocery stores that claim to offer these health benefits by infusing pineapple in them. Hence, in this article, we will explore how too much of anything is bad and how pineapple, a health-beneficial fruit may also lead to surprising concerns.
What is the Safe Amount of Daily Pineapple Consumption?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is between 30 and 38 g per day for men and between 21 to 25 g per day for women. This is because one cup of pineapple juice contains certain nutrients like Vitamin C and manganese that surpass the daily recommended allowances (RDAs) for a healthy human being. Here is the full list of nutritional content of this delicious fruit along with their dietary values (2):
- Calories: 82.5 kcal
- Fat: 0.198 grams (g)
- Protein: 0.891 g
- Carbs: 21.6 g
- Fiber: 2.31 g
- Vitamin C: 78.9 mg which is 88% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Manganese: 1.53 mg which is 109% of the DV (for women) and 2.3mg or 66% of the DV (for men)
- Vitamin B6: 0.185 mg which is 11% of the DV
- Copper: 0.181 mg which is20% of the DV
- Thiamine: 0.13 mg which is 11% of the DV
- Folate: 29.7 micrograms (mcg) which is 7% of the DV
- Potassium: 180 mg which is 4% of the DV
- Magnesium: 19.8 mg which is 5% of the DV
- Niacin: 0.825 mg which is 5% of the DV
- Pantothenic acid: 0.351 mg which is 7% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 0.053 mg which is 4% of the DV
- Iron: 0.478 mg which is 3% of the DV
Therefore, overconsumption may cause side effects of pineapple as it may lead to high intake of certain micronutrients that may lead to toxicity.
7 Side Effects of Pineapple
After analyzing the nutrient content of pineapple, we can safely say that this tropical delight is an extremely nutritious and beneficial fruit. However, like every coin has a flip side, pineapple has its cons and we will discuss them in detail below:
- Allergic Reactions: Pineapples are rich in digestive enzymes, one special proteolytic enzyme is called bromelain, which means it breaks down proteins. This is why pineapples are known to have ‘meat-tenderizing’ properties as these enzymes can soften muscle fibers. However, this enzyme may trigger allergic reactions that may vary from mild to severe, mainly affecting the skin or digestive system. The most commonly observed symptoms include hives, rashes, itching, and swelling, and some severe reactions may lead to shortness of breath, chronic rhinosinusitis, chest pain, and low blood pressure (3). Pineapple contains another enzyme called profilin that may trigger latex allergies in some individuals (4). These symptoms may resolve by themselves over a few days, but if they aggravate consult a medical practitioner immediately.
- Abdominal Discomfort: Pineapple contains a rich concentration of vitamin C. Researchers have stated that consumption of higher amounts of Vitamin C may induce digestive issues like nausea, abdominal cramps, or heartburn (5). Additionally, increased bromelain can trigger stomach discomfort and allergies causing diarrhea, dizziness, loss of appetite, excessive menstrual bleeding, vomiting, or diarrhea (3).
- Toxicity: You should only consume pineapple that has been well ripened as along with bad taste, unripe pineapple can be highly toxic to humans. There have been several animal studies that reported itchy throat, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, and vomiting in people after consuming raw pineapples (6).
- Heavy Bleeding: The bromelin enzyme in pineapples has a certain effect on blood clotting which may be due to its proteolytic effects. There have been human studies stating that bromelin offers bleeding risk. Therefore, doctors suggest avoiding pineapples during pregnancy, liver or kidney diseases, and a week before a dental procedure or surgery. Patients who suffer from a blood or bleeding disease must consult a doctor before consuming pineapples and consider it only after starting with medications (3).
- Dental Health Damage: Pineapple contains different enzymes and sugars that may trigger a desensitizing effect on your teeth or lead to their decay. An undoubtedly tasty fruit, pineapple owing to its enzymes bromelain catalase, and polyphenol peroxidase has a high acidity that may leach the outer layers of the teeth through a chemical process slowly over a long period. So, overconsumption of pineapple without practicing proper oral hygiene may indirectly affect the appearance and quality of your teeth (7).
- Increased Blood Sugar Levels: Pineapple contains high amounts of glucose and sucrose, which are simple carbohydrates and do not take too long for the body to digest. Therefore excessive consumption can lead to serious health concerns, especially in pre-diabetic and diabetic patients. This is because it can spike the blood sugar levels and cause complications. Therefore, most diabetic patients are asked to limit pineapple or any kind of fruit as they contain high levels of simple carbohydrates that have the potential to modulate blood sugar levels (8).
- Kidney Issues: Pineapples are a rich source of potassium, a mineral that may pose some health risks to people suffering from chronic kidney disease. The potassium content is filtered out by the kidneys in a healthy individual. However, in patients with kidney issues, their organs are too weak to efficiently drain out excessive potassium which results in Hyperkalemia, the accumulation of high levels of this mineral in blood serum. This condition may range from mild asymptomatic to fatal symptoms such as muscle weakness, paralysis, etc. Therefore, before incorporating pineapple into your diet, be sure to seek advice from your doctor (9).
- Drug Interaction: Pineapple is usually recommended to avoid especially in patients with heart diseases who are on blood thinner medications like warfarin. This is due to the presence of its proteolytic enzyme, Bromelain. Although low in toxicity, its anticoagulant properties may additionally impact the blood’s consistency and ability to form clots which may be risky for patients suffering from blood-related diseases. Therefore, before taking bromelin supplements while you are on blood thinners you must consult a doctor (3).
Is Consuming Pineapple Everyday Safe?
Pineapple can find a place in your diet as a tasty snack, after-food sweet treat, a smoothie, or even in baked goods. Although we have discussed a number of side effects of pineapple, it is extremely safe to be consumed daily keeping in mind the daily allowance values depending on your gender and health condition. Being a storehouse of essential minerals, vitamins, and dietary fibers, there are incredible health benefits of pineapples when consumed regularly. Some of these benefits are:
- Antioxidant Properties: Pineapple is a good source of antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acids, which help combat oxidative stress, thus preventing cell damage and inflammation in the body.
- Digestive Aid: Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, aids in the digestion of proteins and may help alleviate digestive issues. Therefore, there are gut health benefits of pineapple juice when consumed in moderation.
- Anti-inflammatory Effects: The bromelain in pineapple has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate conditions like arthritis. Hence, incorporating pineapple into your diet may have therapeutic applications in preventing cases of inflammatory diseases.
- Immune System Support: The high vitamin C content in pineapple contributes to a healthy immune system, helping the body fight off infections and illnesses. So, regular consumption of pineapple may provide potential benefits to the immune system.
- Promotes Healthy Skin: Vitamin C, along with other powerful antioxidants, promotes collagen synthesis, supporting skin health and reducing signs of aging.
- Heart Health: Potassium in pineapple supports heart health by helping regulate blood pressure, and the fiber content may contribute to lower cholesterol levels.
- Aids in Weight Management: Pineapple is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a satisfying and nutritious snack that can contribute to weight management.
Pineapple is a delicious and nutritious fruit originating from South America contains a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but it's essential to be mindful of the amount you are consuming per day. This is because here, we identified several potential side effects of pineapple. Some individuals may experience pineapple allergy, digestive discomfort, and dental issues due to the presence of bromelain enzymes. It is also observed that high sugar and potassium concentrations may worsen chronic metabolic conditions like diabetes and kidney issues. Therefore, to avoid such side effects and gain its benefits one must follow the saying “moderation is key”. As with any food, individual reactions vary, and the intensity of these side effects may be different. So, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have concerns or pre-existing health conditions. When enjoyed in moderation, pineapple can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet, offering a myriad of overall health benefits.