Luck O' the Irish Smoothie
Lets talk a little bit about the many nutritional benefits of pineapple. Pineapple is a tropical fruit rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. These tropical treats are also a good way to get important dietary fiber as well as bromelain, unique set of enzymes that combat inflammation and aid digestion. And for all its sweetness, one cup of pineapple chunks contains only 82 calories.
Immune system support
Pineapple contains all of the recommended daily value of vitamin C along with other strong antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that help your body combat oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a state in which there are too many free radicals in the body. These free radicals interact with the body's cells and cause damage that is linked to chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system and many harmful diseases. Pineapples are especially rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids. What’s more unusual is that many of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound. This allows the antioxidants to survive harsher conditions in the body and produce longer lasting effects.
Like many other fruits and vegetables, pineapple contains dietary fiber, which is essential in keeping you regular and in keeping your intestines healthy. But unlike many other fruits and veggies, pineapple contains significant amounts of a group of digestive enzymes known as bromelain. They function as proteases, which break down protein molecules into their building blocks, known as amino acids and peptides.
Once protein molecules are broken down, they are more easily absorbed across the small intestine. This can be especially helpful for people with pancreatic insufficiency or other digestive issues.
Bromelain is highest in concentration in the core of the pineapple, and has been shown to help reduce severe inflammation. Studies have noted that eating pineapples helps reduce the time it takes to recover from surgery or strenuous exercise, can treat pain related to arthritis, and may even help fight cancer. This is largely due to the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain. Bromelain reduces inflammation, swelling, bruising and pain. It also seems to reduce markers of inflammation. In many studies, bromelain appears to provide a similar amount of relief as common anti-inflammatory medicines.
Pineapple may help you keep standing tall and strong. The fruit contains nearly 75 percent of the daily-recommended value of the mineral manganese, which is essential in developing strong bones and connective tissue.
Pineapples can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the eyes as people age, due in part to its high amount of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Blood clot reduction
Because of their bromelain levels, pineapples can help reduce excessive coagulation of the blood.
Common cold and sinus inflammation
In addition to having lots of vitamin C, pineapple’s bromelain may help reduce mucus in the throat and nose. So if your Spring cold has you coughing, try some pineapple chunks. Those with allergies may want to consider incorporating pineapple into their diets more regularly to reduce sinus mucus long term. One nine-week study fed 98 healthy children either no pineapple, some pineapple (140g) or lots of pineapple (280g) daily to see if it boosted their immunity. Children who ate pineapples had a significantly lower risk of both viral and bacterial infections. Also, children who ate the most pineapple had close to four times more disease-fighting white blood cells (granulocytes) than the other two groups. Another study found that children with a sinus infection recovered significantly faster while taking a bromelain supplement, compared to a standard treatment or combination of the two.
2 cups pineapple (be sure to include the core for increased bromelain)
1 banana (or 1/2 an avocado) for increased creaminess
1 cup of ice
handful of spinach
+/- a dash of orange juice if added sweetness is desired
Blend and ENJOY!