Let\u2019s Hear It for Pineapple, Unsung Low-Calorie Treat

Pineapple is a delicious yellow fruit that tastes great in smoothies and breakfast bowls—and it happens to be super nutritious.

Pineapple is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, can surely aid in promoting weight loss, and works nicely in a variety of diet-friendly meals and snacks.

“Pineapple is a tropical fruit that contains vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, plus manganese. And pineapple also contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme which helps to digest protein,” says Ilyse Schapiro R.D.

Bromelain functions as a protease, an enzyme which breaks down protein molecules into their building blocks, such as amino acids and small peptides. Once proteins are broken down, they are more easily absorbed across the small intestine.

Bromelain is also anti-inflammatory, which can help ease aches and pains. This is especially beneficial for those with arthritis, she explains. Plus, “the manganese is great for bone health and bone density,” she adds, which can lower risk of osteoporosis later in life—yes, men can get it too!

One cup of pineapple has 78.9 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, which is close to the required 90 mg DV for men. And there are also 2.3 grams of fiber per cup, along with 2.6 mg of manganese.

Of course, as with any fruit, don’t go overboard. Stick with a proper serving size (one cup is good) and treat pineapple as a nutritious, naturally sweetened food to enjoy in your diet.

How to Enjoy It

Pair pineapple with a cup of plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese or blend it with greens, protein powder and nut butter to make a green protein smoothie. You can also use pineapple in a salad, grain bowl, stir-fry, or in a dip, like guacamole or salsa.

For a salsa, combine pineapple, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and jalapeños in a bowl. Add lime juice and toss. You can season with salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce—whatever you enjoy. “Allow flavors to blend at room temperature for 30 minutes, or chill until serving time,” Schapiro says.

And of course you can grill it during summertime to go with your burgers and kebabs. For example, grill pineapple and enjoy it by itself or pair with chicken, steak, salmon or pork.

Grilling basic pineapple is simple. “You can spray or wipe oil in a grill pan, and cook the pineapple for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, then rotate 45 degrees, to get the grill marks,” she says. “You can also add honey or cinnamon and brown sugar or coconut and lime to flavor the grilled pineapple.”

Pineapple is also an excellent healthy dessert option or sweet treat when you have a sugar craving. “You can dip it in melted chocolate or eat it frozen for an icy treat, and you can also puree it and make it into a popsicle,” Schapiro says. Or make a refreshing sorbet that’ll hit the spot on a warm day.

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