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12 Unexpected Benefits of Pineapple You Need To Know

12 Unexpected Benefits of Pineapple You Need To Know

The summer is heating up, and the rising temperatures make me think of refreshing citrus. Pineapple tastes great in mixed drinks, doesn’t it? Even when you nix the alcohol, pineapple is still a delicious fruit, and has many unexpected benefits you probably don’t know about. Check out these benefits of pineapple before you head out to the grocery store to stock up on this intriguing fruit!

1. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals.

Major news flash: fruit is good for you! Yeah, yeah, yeah—that’s common knowledge. But check out the goods on pineapples: they’re loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. While it’s rich in fiber and calories, it’s low in fat and cholesterol. This makes it a great, nutritious fruit to add to your diet to improve and maintain your health.

2. It strengthens bones.

Pineapple contains manganese, a mineral necessary for your body to build strong bones and connective tissues. You don’t even need that much of the fruit—one cup of pineapple gives your body 73 percent of the manganese it needs!

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3. It improves digestion.

Bromelain is an extract found in pineapple stems, and works to neutralize fluids to make sure they’re not too acidic. Bromelain also regulates the pancreatic secretions that aid digestion. You can keep your digestive tract healthy because it is high in protein-digesting properties.

4. It keeps gums healthy.

You brush your teeth several times a day, but do you pay attention to your gums? Because pineapple has such a high vitamin C content, eating the fruit lowers your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease not only destroys gum tissue and jaw bones, but has been linked to heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Including more vitamin C in your diet improves your body’s ability to fight invading bacteria that contributes to these diseases.

5. It alleviates arthritis.

Pineapple has anti-inflammatory qualities, so including the fruit in your diet can alleviate the pain of arthritis, along with similar conditions, like gout and carpal tunnel syndrome. It also can help improve the condition overall by strengthening your bones.

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6. It prevents hypertension.

If you’re trying to ease your high blood pressure, or want to avoid getting it, then eat a lot of pineapple. Because pineapples have a high amount of potassium and a low amount of sodium, your body will maintain normal blood pressure levels.

7. It has anti-cancer properties.

There might not be a cure for cancer, but there are things that can help you prevent it, and pineapple is one of those things. Because pineapples are so full of antioxidants, they help fight against free radicals. Free radicals are groups of atoms that do major damage when they come in contact with your cell membranes or DNA. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from doing damage in your body by keeping cells healthy. Because antioxidants prevent cell damage, they lower your risk of cancer because your cells are stronger.

8. It prevents coughs and colds.

The pineapple is rich in vitamin C, which means it naturally boosts your immune system. This helps you fight off coughs and colds. Even if you’re already sick, you can still reap the benefits of pineapple because it contains bromelain, which loosens mucus and suppresses coughs.

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9. It lowers risk of macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is caused by damage to the retina, and is the primary cause of vision loss in adults. As you age, macular degeneration makes it harder for you to recognize faces, read, see street signals, and similarly hinder other everyday activities. If you add pineapple in your regular diet, you can lower your risk for this disease by up to 36 percent! This is because pineapple is full of beta carotene, which is good for your sight.

10. It stays fresher longer.

After bringing your pineapple home from the store, you can keep it on the counter at room temperature for a day or two before cutting. This doesn’t affect the taste, but makes the fruit softer and juicier. If you’re not ready to eat the pineapple after two days, wrap it in plastic and it will stay good in the refrigerator for three to five more days. However, once you cut up the pineapple and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge (preferably with some juice keeping it moist), it will stay good—and nutritious!—for six to nine days! That means you can make a delicious fruit salad and eat it every day for lunch for a week, and still get just as many of these benefits as you would with fresh cut pineapple!

11.  It’s a good weight loss food.

Pineapple has a delicious, natural sweetness that makes it taste like a dessert on its own. As an added bonus, pineapple is low in calories, sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats, while being a good source of fiber. This makes it the perfect weight loss food because it’s a healthy, filling, and tasty snack!

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12. It relieves nausea.

A key benefit from pineapple juice intake is that it averts nausea or morning sickness. This is quite useful for pregnant women who usually experience nausea. It also helps people who are looking to go on airplane trips that usually cause motion sickness.

Featured photo credit: CIAT via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

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Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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