There might not be anything more mouth-wateringly delicious and refreshing than water infused with pineapple, which is also full of health benefits. While it might not be summer just yet, it’s never too early to start thinking about–and drinking–lightly sweet and healthy refreshers like pineapple water.
Fruit-infused water has been around for centuries. According to lore, it originated in Mexico, where it’s known as agua fresca–literally “fresh water”. There, the Aztecs muddled fruit while paddling in the waters surrounding today’s Mexico City, allegedly adding ice from dormant nearby volcanoes.
Lucky for you, fruit-infused water such as pineapple water is so much easier to make today. (No digging around a volcano is necessary!) But the lengths to which the Aztecs went to make this tasty concoction might tell you something about how good it is. Muy delish!
“Pineapple water is low in sugar and calories and it can be a great substitute for soda and juice,” says Nutritious Life Founder Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN.
“While agua frescas typically contain added sugar, the trend more recently is to ditch the extra sweet stuff, which I’m 100% behind.”
Read on for a tutorial on just what pineapple water is, its health benefits – especially for women – and a recipe for how to make some of this deliciousness for yourself at home.
What Is Pineapple Water, Exactly?
Pineapple water is simply fresh drinking water infused with pineapple and chilled. If you’re trying to get more H2O into your daily routine (aren’t we all?), it can help to add a little flavor to the water to make it go down easier.
How to Make Pineapple Water
There are different methods of making pineapple water, but the two most common ways are to:
- Infuse water with fresh chunks of pineapple, or
- Blend the freshly-cut pineapple with water, then strain out the pulp
If you’re looking for a consistency that’s similar to OJ with pulp, you can skip the step of straining and drink up the benefits of the agua and the rewards (like fiber) of the whole, nutritious food you’ve infused it with. Win-win!
Here’s a quick and easy recipe to try.
Pineapple Water Recipe
- 1 Medium-sized pineapple
- 6 cups water
- Fresh herbs and spices (such as mint, basil and ginger)
1. Check for ripeness: Choose a ripe pineapple for more sweetness (since you won’t be adding any sugar to this recipe). Pro tip: You can tell a pineapple’s ripeness in three ways. First, handle it and make sure it’s firm but has some give. Second, smell it. The riper it is, the sweeter it smells. Third, tug on a frond at its crown. If the spiky leaf detaches easily, that’s a sign that the pineapple is nice and ripe.
2. Prep and steep: Chop up the pineapple and steep it in the water. The longer you steep it, the sweeter it will be.
3. Add more flavor: To add some dimension to your pineapple water, fresh herbs and spices will do the trick nicely. Fresh mint or basil pair well with pineapple, and ginger adds a spicy kick. Feel free to experiment and add your fresh herbs and spices of choice.
Why pineapple water? Read on to find out about the truly impressive health benefits of pineapple water.
11 Health Benefits of Pineapple Water
It is super hydrating
We’ll start with the most evident. Obviously, water is hydrating, but did you know that pineapple is made up of 87% water. So, pineapple water is a great way to get in nutrients while hydrating your body with sweet goodness.
Reduces inflammation and pain
Pineapple contains a powerful enzyme called bromelain, which has a long history of use in treating medical ailments, including pain and inflammation.
Pro tip: When given to treat pain, it should be taken on an empty stomach because it will act as a digestive enzyme if consumed with food.
One cup of fresh, cubed pineapple contains 79 milligrams of vitamin C, which is all an adult needs for the entire day. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, helps prevent heart disease and contributes to immune defense.
Pineapple is a solid source of dietary fiber. (So don’t forget to eat those chunks inside your pineapple water!) As mentioned, it’s also rich in bromelain, which helps to break down protein and support smoother digestion. An animal study found that purified fruit bromelain reduced inflammation and healed ulcers caused by colitis in rats.
Can alleviate acid reflux
Fresh pineapple may also help improve acid reflux symptoms because of the concentrated amount of bromelain in it, which has alkalizing (the opposite of acidic) properties.
Pro tip: Pineapple juice will not do the same because the bromelain has been diluted. Also, bromelain may interact with some medications, such as blood thinners and antibiotics, so check with your physician if you are at all concerned.
Soothes sore muscles
A study found that a mixture containing bromelain was effective in improving post-workout recovery and shortening the duration of muscle soreness compared to a placebo in athletes.
Helps with healthy embryo development
Pineapple is a rich source of folate, also known as vitamin B9. One cup of pineapple chunks contains 30 micrograms of folate, or 7% of the recommended daily value, according to the USDA. This is a crucial nutrient for women during early pregnancy that works to reduce risks of possible birth defects.
Rich in disease-fighting antioxidants
Pineapples contain flavonoids and phenolic acids. These two antioxidants work to protect you from cell-damaging free radicals that can cause chronic disease.
Supports eye health
Folate has been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disorder that affects central vision and is a concern especially for those with diabetes.
It lowers blood pressure
That same folate also helps to lower blood pressure.
It may help your sinusitis
One small pilot study found that bromelain supplements alleviated swelling, congestion and other symptoms of chronic sinusitis. Study participants took bromelain for 3 months with no noticeable intolerances.