Pineapple, also known as pineapple or matzatli, is native to South America.
It is not only highly appreciated because it bears fruit once a year, but also for its nutritional composition that makes it a food full of properties. Among its benefits, the possibility of improving sleep stands out. Find out why and how to take advantage of it here.
Pineapple is the fruit of Ananas comosus, a plant belonging to the Bromeliaceae family. It is characterized by its hard and lanceolate leaves, while the fruit has a yellow pulp and a sweet flavor.
The traditional way to eat fresh pineapple is by cutting its crown, removing its base, removing its skin, to finally cut it into slices. It can also be cut into sections and removed the small “segments” that form.
It is a great option for preparing desserts and sweet and sour dishes, both hot and cold.
Does it help you sleep better?
Pineapple is among the top foods recommended to eat at night for quality sleep. This is because it is rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid, that is, it cannot be produced by the body.
When tryptophan enters the body it can be converted into a molecule called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) used to make melatonin and serotonin. These are key hormones for different functions of the body.
- Is it possible to increase melatonin to sleep better?
Melatonin, popularly known as the sleep hormone, is secreted by the pineal gland, which is found in the brain and is responsible for regulating the day and night, or sleep-wake cycles.
Darkness causes the body to generate more melatonin, preparing it for sleep, while light decreases its production, allowing you to be awake and perform all daily activities.
While serotonin is a hormone responsible for regulating appetite, digestion, mood, sexual function, memory and sleep.
A study published in Journal of Pineal Research evaluated the consumption of fruits and their juices in 12 volunteers, and found that pineapple significantly increased levels of melatonin (up to three times more compared to those who did not drink its juice).
How to make pineapple juice
Preparing pineapple juice is very simple, since you only need a pineapple and water.
- Start by cutting the pineapple into chunks, making sure to get as much pulp as possible.
- Add the pieces to a food processor and add water to the desired consistency. One cup is usually enough for a pineapple. Optional: you can replace part of the water with ice cubes to drink cold.
It is important that this juice is drunk without straining, since the pulp of the pineapple provides a large amount of fiber. You can also freeze it in an ice cube tray to obtain flavored ice, to mix with other juices or smoothies.
What to do to sleep better
Keep in mind that consuming pineapple alone will not necessarily guarantee quality sleep. You must supplement it with a healthy diet, which includes: nuts, fish, eggs, milk, legumes, and seeds, such as sesame and pumpkin.
Also, consider infusions such as orange blossom, ginseng, lavender, chamomile, passionflower, linden, or valerian.
In addition to taking care of your diet, you can control other risk factors for insomnia, such as stress, to achieve a sound sleep. Breathing or meditation techniques, regular exercise, and hot showers are often helpful.
Also try to avoid or limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol and very heavy foods during the night, keep tablets or cell phones away and achieve a comfortable temperature in your room.
Other benefits of pineapple
In addition to helping you sleep better, you can include pineapple in your diet to take advantage of these properties:
- Antioxidants: pineapple is rich in vitamin C and other minerals such as calcium and phosphorus that offer the body protection against free radicals, unstable molecules that attack healthy cell structures.
- Cardioprotective: pineapple promotes blood circulation, thanks to the fact that it has an enzyme called bromelain. Its consumption is also linked to lower levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, thus reducing the risk of various cardiovascular conditions.
- Digestive: pineapple has a lot of fiber, which allows to add volume to the stool and improve its transit, prevent constipation and normalize the microbiota or intestinal flora.
- Diuretics: pineapple can help eliminate retained fluids in the body and achieve a flatter stomach. In addition, it contains chemicals that stimulate kidney function and help expel toxins from the body.
Until there is significant scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.