An incredibly sweet fruit that’s low in calories but big in nutrients, pineapples are often considered a tropical delicacy. Once you read how great they are for you, though, you might just consider adding them to your weekly routine, no matter where you live!
Fun Facts about Pineapples
History of the Pineapple
Many people think that pineapples are native to Hawaii, but they’ve actually been traced back to South America. Pineapples eventually reached, and were cultivated by, the Mayas and the Incas, before Columbus discovered them on Guadeloupe island and brought them back to Spain.
Supposedly, pineapples reached Hawaii in the 1500s, and were turned into an industry there by John Kidwell and Jim Dole in the 1800s.
Members of the bromeliad family (one of the only bromeliads to produce fruit that’s edible), pineapples are actually made up of berries connected together around a core. Each little pineapple “scale” is actually an individual berry.
In addition to being rich in vitamin C, pineapple is also bursting with manganese, a trace mineral that is essential for healthy bones, collagen production, and antioxidant defense.
There’s a good dose of thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, present in pineapple, and thiamin is important not only because it constantly needs to be replenished in our bodies, but because it’s essential for a healthy metabolism and cell function.
One cup of raw pineapple has only 82 calories, zero fat, zero cholesterol, and a hefty serving of dietary fiber.
Perhaps the biggest health benefit of pineapple is bromelain, a digestive enzyme that “breaks down protein molecules.” This enzyme has been studied as being helpful in digestion, absorption of antibiotics, and decreasing inflammation.
According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, bromelain may also help reduce certain types of cancer — but, they are quick to point out, these tests have not been done on humans in a laboratory setting.
Smoothies With Pineapple
Want more of this wonder fruit in your life? Here are a few of our favorite pineapple-infused smoothies.
Creamy Pineapple Coconut
Do you like pina coladas? So do we! This tropical blend will transport you to a sandy beach and crystal blue waters. Well, not really, but we can indulge in the fantasy. Coconut is chock-full of good fats, and healthy oils. The bromelain in pineapple is excellent in helping ease digestion and heartburn. This smoothie may taste like a cocktail, but it’s full of dietary fiber and nutrients to keep everything moving.
This purple powerhouse is chock-full of antioxidant goodness. We’ve packed a wide variety of produce into this cocktail. Blueberries and acai berries contain anthocyanins and quercetin, which help reduce inflammation and may help sharpen mental faculties. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of cancer. Pineapples and oranges add a tart hit of fiber and vitamin C!
Orange Pineapple Power
Everyone knows that oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, but did you know that pineapple actually has more Vitamin C per serving? Pineapple also contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps reduce bloating. Goji berries are full of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and carotenoids, which have been linked to an increased lifespan. And let’s not forget about the good old yam, which is full of complex carbohydrates (the best kind for increased energy) and soluble dietary fiber. When you mix in a serving of hemp seed, which is full of protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, you’ve got a meal replacement smoothie that can get you through any kind of workout life throws at you.
Persimmon Pineapple Protein
Originally native to China, persimmons are now grown all over the world. Known as “nature’s candy,” persimmons have a sweet, almost honey-like flavor, and are full of vitamin C (one little fruit has almost 80 percent of your recommended daily allowance). Flax is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world, and flaxseeds are a rich source of Omega-3s. Pea protein rounds out this sweet, immune-boosting smoothie, blending seamlessly while providing plant-based protein that our bodies need to keep going from morning till night.
Pineapple Blueberry Squash
Squash is tropical? Sure! When you mix it with tangy pineapple and juicy orange, the delicious vegetable takes on a delightful summer flavor. Yellow squash is rich in iron and folates, and contains lutein and beta carotene. Colored purple by blueberries and acai berry, this drink is full of antioxidants and fiber. Acai berries grow on a palm tree in South America— what could be more of a vacation vibe?
Pineapple Charcoal Detox
Routinely used in hospitals and emergency rooms to help with acute poisonings or overdoses, activated charcoal is considered a health food when consumed in very small doses. Because it binds and flushes toxins via adsorption, a process in which the toxins get stuck to the charcoal and leave the body when it does, it’s a great gentle detoxifier that may also help with gas and bloating. With healthy fiber from an apple, kale and flax, as well as good fats from coconut milk, this sweet and creamy smoothie should help your digestion move along at a healthy pace!
Pineapple Kiwi Kalm
In order to feel vibrant and stress free, proper sleep is needed. You know what you need for sound sleeping? Calcium. We’ve loaded this smoothie with kale to ensure maximum calcium absorption. Zinc is also an essential mineral in relieving anxiety, which is why we utilized cashews in this smoothie creation. Matcha is rich in amino acids which lower blood pressure, enhance memory, and improve your quality of sleep. Drink this smoothie to feel energized and invigorated during the day and sleep like a baby at night.
Pineapple Orange Greensicle
Drink this smoothie for digestion and inflammation issues. On second thought, drink this smoothie whenever you want because it’s delicious! Pineapple and turmeric both fight heartburn and indigestion. Orange and pumpkin seeds combine as a kind of natural vitamin C and zinc tablet, boosting immunity and creating nuanced flavors. Lacinato kale is the “black kale” of Tuscan cuisine, providing fiber and detoxification properties.
Also called an Inca peanut, sacha inchi is actually the seed of a plant that grows in Peru. Rich in protein, Omega-3s and vitamin E, sacha inchi has a mild, nutty taste, and has been shown to lower cholesterol. Low in fat but high in protein, fiber and micronutrients, snow peas are a winter vegetable staple that bring a light, fresh taste to smoothies. Add in some pineapple for a blast of vitamin C, grapes for cancer-fighting polyphenols, and hemp seed for Omega-3s, and you’ve got a smoothie that’s light on fat and calories, but big in nutrients.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
There is nothing upside down about this smoothie! It's got all the right fruits, superfoods and flavors to energize and detoxify. Pineapple, the key ingredient, contains the powerful digestive enzyme, Bromelain. Bromelain aids in digesting protein, breaking down fats and reducing inflammation.
Spicy Pineapple with Cayenne
Pineapples are loaded with antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body and help prevent cell damage. The sweet tropical fruit also reduces inflammation, important in combating skin’s redness and puffiness. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, another antioxidant that helps jumpstart the metabolism to aid in detoxification. Chia seeds contain large amounts of skin-healthy Omega-3s and Vitamin E. Fiber from apple and swiss chard keep the detox going!
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