Yummy and sweet and reminiscent of paradise, who doesn’t like pineapple? There’s probably a few who don’t like peeling a pineapple, but once you get inside, there are limitless uses for that juicy yellow flesh. A tropical tenderizer that promotes strong bones, pineapple has long been a staple of Polynesian cuisine. Originally called nana (meaning “fragrance”), it was not only something to eat but also used to make wine. At one time, Hawaii was the world’s leading producer of pineapple but today, most of the pineapples we get come from Thailand. Pineapple is loaded with vitamin C and manganese, both of which promote a healthy immune system. Manganese is also an important cofactor in enzymes which metabolize fat and protein as well as playing a part in energy production and antioxidant defence. Bromelain, extracted from the core and stem of the pineapple, shows promising anecdotal evidence in assisting with digestion and as an anti-inflammatory. The Archives of Ophthalmology included a study of 110,000 women and men to evaluate the effect of the consumption of fruits and vegetables on the development of early age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). While intakes of vegetables were not strongly related to incidence of ARMD, fruit was definitely protective against the more severe form of ARMD; specifically fruit high in vitamins A, C, E and the carotenoids. In this article we’ll look at pineapple’s designation as a superfood, the benefits of eating pineapple, and also throw in a few recipes so you can incorporate it easily into your daily diet.
What Constitutes a Superfood?
“Superfoods” is a buzz word that’s been flung around now for quite some time but has anyone really penned a definition? While there is no agreed-upon, scientific definition of a super food, it is generally taken to mean a food containing a higher than usual nutrient content of either one nutrient, or a mixture of thereof, and one that is also:
- Higher in fibre
- Lower in fat
- Lower in calories
- Has a role to play in regulating/improving physiological conditions (hypertension, hyperthyroidism, etc.), and
- Supports and assists one or more systems in the body (immune, digestive, cardiovascular, etc.)
While superfoods are good for your health, it’s important to remember that your diet cannot consist of these foods alone. Most nutrition experts agree that a healthful diet is made up of a balanced variety of all foods groups. It’s also important to remember that just because a food has been dubbed a “superfood” doesn’t mean that more of it is better. Nuts and eggs are considered superfoods for their omega content but they are also high in fat and can spike your cholesterol numbers. Everything in moderation, please.
What Makes Pineapple a Superfood?
Never mind that you’ll think you’re eating candy and cheating on your nutritional plan thanks to its sugar sweetness, 1 cup of chunked pineapple contains 131% of the daily value of vitamin C and only 82 calories. Vitamin C is of immense importance to at least 300 metabolic functions in your body. And your body cannot produce its own vitamin C; you need to provide it via the foods you eat.
Pineapple is low in sodium, cholesterol, calories and saturated fats and contains generous amounts of Vitamin B6, thiamine, copper, manganese and fiber. It’s this fiber and high water content that helps fill you up and keeps you from feeling hungry longer.
Bromelain, an enzyme found in the core and stem of the pineapple, is now being studied for its anti-inflammatory properties, digestion-assisting abilities and its apparent ability to aid in the speedy recovery from surgical procedures and wounds. More study is being done to determine bromelain’s ability to also help treat rheumatoid arthritis, throat infections, anaemia, reduce blood clotting, remove plaque from artery walls, relieve bronchitis and combat loss of memory and depression.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Such
In one cup of pineapple:
|Glycemic Index Rating||Medium|
|Calories||82.50||A = 95 IU||Calcium = 21 mg|
|Carbohydrates||21.65 g||Beta Carotene = 57 mcg||Magnesium = 20 mg|
|Fiber||2.31 g||C = 78 mg||Potassium = 180 mg|
|Sugar||16.25 g||Folate = 29 mcg||Phosphorus = 13 mg|
How to Choose and Store a Pineapple
Despite their daunting appearance, choosing a pineapple is much like choosing any other fruit.
- Make sure there are no soft spots on the pineapple.
- Bruises and dark spots indicate the pineapple is older and past it’s prime.
- Choose the heaviest pineapple.
- Size doesn’t matter: a large pineapple will taste just as sweet as a small pineapple.
- Avoid fruit that smells musty, sour or fermented. It should smell sweet at the stem end.
If you’re not going to use the pineapple right away, you can leave it out on the counter for a day or two, but after that, it should be peeled and sliced and kept in the fridge. Keep a little of it’s own liquid in the container with the fruit to keep it sweet and moist. It’s better to use it up than freeze it. It rarely comes out of the freezer tasting as good as when it went in.
To peel and cut the fruit:
- Cut off the crown and base of the fruit with a sharp knife.
- Place on a non-slip surface, base down.
- Carefully, slicing in a downward motion from top to bottom, slice off the skin. Try to take as little of the fruit with the skin as possible, just like peeling a potato.
- Carve out any dark spots (called “eyes”) or bruising with the tip of your knife.
- Cut the pineapple into quarters, lengthwise from top to bottom.
- Use your knife to remove the core from each quarter.
- Slice as you like.
Smoothies, Sweeties, and Savories
We’ve gathered a few recipes together that should satisfy every tooth in your head, whether sweet or savory. Have a smoothie for breakfast, a savory with your supper and a sweetie for “afters”. Of course, it’s also great fresh off the grill or mixed into a fresh fruit salad for lunch.
It’s best to have a very powerful blender for your smoothies. The best on the market today is the Vitamix. It’ll grind anything into juice and make it taste good in the process! In a “green” smoothie, the recipe will specify the greens, but you can substitute anything in that you want.
MORNING ZING SMOOTHIE
From “Green Smoothie Revolution” by Victoria Boutenko
It’s called a “morning” smoothie, but you can sip on this all day long!
½ bunch dandelion greens
2 stalks celery
½ inch fresh gingerroot
Makes 2 quarts.
Victoria Boutenkoteaches classes on raw food all over the world, and is an adjunct professor at Southern Oregon University. Her (and her family’s) teachings have inspired raw food communities everywhere. A regular contributor to such publications as Get Fresh, Just Eat an Apple, Alive, and Natuurstemmingen, she lives in Ashland, OR.
GLUTEN FREE PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
This fast and easy recipe, prepared and baked in the microwave in just five minutes, uses a quick yellow cake batter poured atop a brown sugar and pineapple base. Invert it onto a plate after baking and enjoy! It can be made dairy free and egg free with good results. See instructions below.
1 pineapple slice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Several raisins or maraschino cherry, if tolerated
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|1. Grease one 2-cup ramekin or straight-sided microwave-safe bowl.|
2. Make the base by placing the pineapple slice, brown sugar and raisins in the bottom of prepared ramekin or bowl. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, briefly beat the egg until it’s almost uniform in color. Add remaining ingredients and mix well to combine.
4. Pour batter over base, tapping ramekin to level batter.
5. Microwave cake on high for 2 minutes. Cake will rise and then settle a little during baking.
6. Gently remove from dish, invert, and cool.
Each serving contains: 248 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 107mg cholesterol, 244mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 5g protein.
*For Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake, replace the yogurt with dairy-free yogurt and replace the egg with 1 tablespoon arrowroot. Cake will not rise as high as egg-filled version but it is dense, moist and delicious.
From “LivingWithout”, the magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities.
|PINEAPPLE PORK CHOPS|
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and brown the pork chops about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chops from the skillet, and set aside.
Mix the chicken broth, soy sauce and vinegar into the skillet, and bring to a boil. Return the pork chops to the skillet, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove chops from the skillet, reserving broth mixture, and set aside.
In a bowl, blend the brown sugar, cornstarch, and pineapple juice. Mix into the skillet with the chicken broth mixture. Bring to a boil. Serve with the cooked pork chops.
Carol Roy is a Natural Health Practitioner who received her diploma from the Alternative Medicine College of Canada in Montreal, Quebec. With 12 years experience in her area of expertise, natural health and wellness, Carol has also trained to become a fully qualified Reiki Master, Quantum Touch Practitioner, and Reflexologist.
The suggestions by Nutter’s Bulk & Natural Foods and the contents of this article
are recommendations only and not a substitute for any medical advice or a
replacement for any prescriptions. Seek medical advice for any health concerns.
Consult your health care provider before using any recommendations herein.