Boost Your Mood with Pineapple
Everyone knows that eating fruit is good for your health. From warding off colds to improving your vision, pineapple offers plenty of physical benefits. But did you know eating pineapple can also help your mental health? Beyond transporting your taste buds to the tropics, a serving of this superfood can increase your happiness too.
Benefits of Bromelain
The enzyme bromelain can aid with digestion and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Many of pineapple’s health benefits can be attributed to bromelain, including reduction of cataracts. In addition, bromelain has been shown to improve mental health. A clinical study found that in 77 adults, ratings of anxiety before and after taking 400 mg of bromelain improved by 8.9%, as compared to 6.8% in adults who took a lower dose of 200 mg. Similarly, depression scores improved by 6.34% versus 3.2% for those with a smaller intake.
All About Tryptophan
While it’s a myth that your need for a nap post-Thanksgiving is thanks to the turkey (carbs like mashed potatoes and stuffing are more likely the culprit), this common tale is based in science. Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can make you sleepy in large quantities and can help you get a good night’s rest. Tryptophan can also reduce anxiety or depression, but isn’t produced in our bodies. Luckily, pineapple contains 10 mg per cup. Plus, tryptophan can boost your body’s production of serotonin. Often called “happy hormones,” this chemical is key to improving your mood, with low serotonin levels being linked to memory problems and possibly even depression.
Citrus Fruits and Vitamin C
Like oranges and other citrus fruits, pineapple is full of vitamin C. This nutrient helps your body absorb iron, which in turn is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body. Not enough oxygen can often lead to fatigue, which can negatively affect mood. The Mayo Clinic shared a study that suggests that vitamin C may lower anxiety levels, though they agree more research is necessary. Even better, you might not even have to consume pineapple to reap the benefits: studies have shown that the smell alone of fruits containing vitamin C can improve energy and reduce stress. That means you can enjoy the sweet aroma of a ripe pineapple on your counter for several days before cutting into it, keeping the good vibes flowing for even longer.
The Taste of Happiness
Unfortunately, foods that bring immediate gratification and pleasure don’t always lead to long-term happiness. Psychology professor Dr. Hendy of Penn State found that unhealthy eating, including high consumption of calories, saturated fat, and sodium, produced a delayed negative mood which showed two days after. In simple terms, what you eat on Monday will have a major effect on how you feel on Wednesday, and so on.
Luckily, pineapple’s natural sweetness makes it a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth while also setting yourself up for success further down the road. Grilled or sautéed pineapple produces a caramelizing effect that pairs well with an ice cream alternative like Greek yogurt for a quick and delicious dessert. Dipping pineapple wedges in dark chocolate combines the nutritional value of pineapple with the antioxidant-boosting benefits of chocolate. Adding pineapple to a stir fry can add flavor and moisture in place of a heavy sauce. Pineapple makes it easy to feel good both now and later.
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More information can be found via resources at Mayo Clinic.