Eight facts about pineapple featured image for the pineapple expressionist with whole pineapple fruit wearing white sunglasses against a solid, teal background sitting on white planking

8 Facts About Pineapple

Pineapple is quite a mysterious fruit. Not exactly a pine cone, yet also not an apple. This article will explore all of the fun facts about pineapple from its history to its nutritional benefits, and of course, facts about pineapple cannabis strains.

“When life gives you lemons, sell them and buy a pineapple. How to better your life 101.”

― Davin Turney

Historical Facts About Pineapple

Dating back to 1398, the term “pineapple” was first used as an anatomical term for the reproductive organs of conifers (cone-bearing seed plants), such as cedar, pine, or redwoods. (1)

Then 266 years later, European settlers stumbled upon a prickly-looking fruit that resembled, what we know today as, pine cones and termed them “pinaepples”. (1)

And that is because pine cones were originally called pineapples because they looked like apples that fell from a pine tree! Isn’t that crazy? Especially considering the fact that this tropical fruit could not be more opposite to the conifers you typically find around snow. (1)

Pineapples Are Not Native to Hawaii

Despite its reputation, popularity, and association as the fruit of the island, pineapples are actually thought to originate from the Americas, specifically in the regions near Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina due to their climate.

It’s been credited that Spanish sailor (and confidant to King Kamehameha I), Don Francisco de Paula Marín, who first brought citrus fruits and mangoes to the islands, also introduced pineapples to the islands around 1790. (2,3)

facts about pineapple don francisco de paula marin quote "this day I planted pineapples and an orange tree" from 1813 with real pineapple looking over the ocean

Unfortunately, there was no canning process yet, so local fruit would spoil quickly, requiring refrigeration for both storage and transport that the islands just didn’t have at the time.

Not until 1901, when “The Pineapple King” himself, James Dole, a Massachusetts native who arrived on the islands two years prior, opened up the Hawaiian Pineapple Company.

The Hawaiian Pineapple Company started the process of canning pineapples for longer preservation times even though Dole knew nothing about canning before opening. (2,3)

If that’s not the greatest lesson in dismissing Imposter Syndrome completely, I don’t know what is! I like the way you think, your Pineapple Highness.

Facts About Pineapple Symbolism

facts about pineapple - pineapple in pink sunglasses wearing pink headphones with a smart phone on a mint green background

Don’t judge a book by its cover!

Despite its prickly appearance, pineapples symbolize friendship, hospitality, generosity, loyalty, warmth, affection, celebration, welcome and home. (4)

And let’s face it, it’s by far the coolest-looking fruit in sunglasses.

King of Fruits

Once known for intangible wealth, the pineapple was deemed “King of Fruits” not only for its representation of (now reachable) wealth, but for that fun, little pineapple crown he’s got goin’ on up there! (4,5)

Fun Facts About Pineapple

A pineapple is somewhat of a fruit with an identity crisis. (1,3

  • It’s actually considered a berry, neither a pine(cone) nor an apple, yet is also a relative to the cactus family 
  • Pineapples can take up to 3 years to grow, and only one pineapple is produced per plant per season
  • Native to South America, pineapples are also known as “ananas” meaning “excellent fruit”
  • You can grow your own pineapple houseplant by chopping off the top crown but will take up to 2-3 years to bloom, if at all

Pink Pineapples

Did you know that pineapples contain a pink pigment in their flesh (i.e. the part you eat) known as lycopene? In the growing process, lycopene is usually converted enzymatically to beta carotene, giving gold pineapples their wonderfully bright yellow color. (6)

Only approved by the FDA in 2016, pink pineapples are actually genetically engineered to provide a more pink color by producing lower levels of the enzymes responsible for the conversion of lycopene to beta carotene. (6)

facts about pineapple with three whole pink pineapples and their crowns

And according to the FDA, since lycopene is what makes tomatoes/ketchup red, and watermelons pink, they say not to get discouraged by the “GMO” moniker since it’s a natural pigment already found in foods. Del Monte actually owns the patent on pink pineapples due to its modification. (6)

According to Del Monte, they are slightly sweeter, juicier, and less sour than their golden brothers. However, don’t be fooled by doctored photos of this unique version.

Although they’re still beautiful on the inside, many photos online appear as if they are a much richer pink color.  In reality they appear a bit more pale pink as you can see below. (6)

facts about pineapple - real petit PinkGlow Del Monte pink pineapple

Nutrition Facts About Pineapple

Although that sweetness is what makes pineapples most attractive, they are very high in sugar. According to the USDA, one whole pineapple (~905g) contains 119g of carbohydrates (86g coming from sugar), and 13g of fiber.

While it’s unlikely that anyone would eat an entire pineapple in a single sitting (I’m not saying it’s not possible or has never been done), still take caution with moderate portion sizes of this feisty fruit to avoid excess spikes in blood sugar levels. 

At the very least, be sure to pair it with a protein or fat source to slow down carbohydrate digestion in order to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Immune System Boosting Facts About Pineapple

Pineapples are excellent sources of vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and bromelain. (7)

Bromelain is the digestive enzyme naturally found in pineapple that can aid in digestion, and reduce inflammation, and is also used as a meat tenderizer in cooking due to its ability to break down tissue. Pineapples serve a much more critical function than just flavor and aesthetics on your BBQ pork. (7)

Pineapples can be an excellent addition to your wellness regimen to keep your immune system running smoothly. There’s a new adage in town: A (pine)apple a day keeps the doctor away (just not the whole thing!)

Facts About Pineapple for People with Kidney Disease

While an excellent source of several micronutrients, pineapples are actually low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus, making them a kidney-friendly fruit option. In addition, bromelain may also be helpful in breaking down kidney stones. (7,8)

>> For more information on kidney-friendly foods and advice, be sure to check out the Dialysis Dietitian, a true expert in Kidney Disease management <<

Facts About Pineapple for Sleep

Pineapples can be great, natural sleep aids. They contain melatonin, which can assist in optimizing your circadian rhythm by providing higher concentrations in the blood to help your body signal that it’s time to sleep when it should.

No, pineapples won’t knock you out like a sleeping pill by any means, but incorporating more pineapple into your diet may slowly contribute to more optimal sleep patterns over time. (12,13)

christmas vacation movie dream scene

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say…

Facts About Pineapple for Athletes

Recalling the nutrient profile of pineapples from above, this fruit king is a powerhouse for athletes to include in both their pre- and post workout fueling, and as part of their hydration routine. Remember that you can also eat your electrolytes!

if you want to win, you've got to think like a king

Facts About Pineapples for Optimal Hydration

Pineapples are filled with vitamins and minerals, and can be an excellent source of electrolytes (14):

  • Vitamins A & K
  • B vitamins (for blood flow)
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Facts About Pineapple as Pre-Workout Fuel

Due to its fiber content, pineapples can serve as great complex carbohydrate sources for athletes prior to a workout to provide energy during a workout! Note that pineapple-flavored sports drinks will not have the same beneficial effect as the whole fruit itself. (14)

Facts About Pineapple for Post-Workout Recovery

Bromelain is back! We already know that bromelain is a highly diverse enzyme that serves several purposes.

As an anti-inflammatory agent, other functions of this enzyme include reductions in joint pain, sprains, and muscle strains (oh my!) so that you can keep returning to your training to get after those PRs you’ve already been working so hard towards! (14)

Pineapple Express Yourself!

Kings are powerful, and by now you can see exactly why this fruitful monarch lives up to his royal reputation! So much more than just tasty (strange-looking) tropical plants, pineapples are nutritious, versatile, and symbolic badasses.

Do yourself a favor, and add a bit more of the coolest fruit around to your life, just one of many ways to pineapple express yourself.

king of fruits

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