By Crissie Mergogey

Pineapple is a delicious tropical super fruit that blends perfectly into smoothies, adds a tangy sweetness to fruit salads and is a perfect snack by itself. Not only is the pineapple delicious, it is packed with many nutrients that boost immunity, reduce inflammation and improve digestion.

Bone and Joint Health
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has many health benefits.  This mighty enzyme acts as an anti-inflammatory compound that can help with tendinitis, arthritis and other muscle and joint issues.  Manganese and potassium are minerals in pineapple that are essential for bone density and connective tissue strength.  Pineapple contains 75 percent of the daily recommended value of manganese, which makes it a powerful agent for bone and joint health.

Immunity & Reduced Cancer Risk
The enzyme bromelain also acts as an antioxidant, meaning that it reduces cell damage caused by free radicals and other toxins in the body.  Pineapple is also packed with other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene.  One cup of pineapple will give you all the vitamin C you need in a day.  Because of its high amounts of antioxidants, pineapple can help improve your immune system and reduce the risk of cancer.

Heart Health
In addition to being beneficial for bone health, potassium is also necessary for a health cardiovascular system.  Potassium is a mineral that helps lower blood pressure and is needed for a normal heart beat.  Pineapple also contains copper, a mineral that is vital for healthy red blood cells.  When blood cells are healthy, they are more efficient at bringing oxygen to all your cells to help your organs do what they need to do.

Digestive Health
Pineapple is high in fiber and water, which are necessary for good digestion.  The beneficial enzyme bromelain also contributes to digestive health by breaking down protein faster which can reduce bloating and constipation.  Eating more fiber on a daily basis can help reduce the risk of type two diabetes and lower cholesterol.

  1. Choosing a ripe pineapple at the store can be difficult.  Here are 5 signs to look for to choose a ripe pineapple:
  2. Check the color.  Pick a pineapple with green healthy leaves.  The shell color will range from green to yellow.  Shell color is not a way to tell if it is ripe.
  3. Gently squeeze it.  The shell should be firm, but should give a bit when squeezed.  A solid hard pineapple is not ripe.
  4. Smell the base.  A ripe pineapple will smell sweet, like a pineapple.
  5. Pull the leaves.  If the leaves can be pulled out easily, the pineapple is likely to be ripe.
  6. Weigh it.  If the pineapple is heavier than it looks, it is likely to be juicier and ripe.

How to Pick a Pineapple
The best and most nutritious way to enjoy a pineapple is fresh.  Canned pineapple and pineapple juice do not have the same number of nutrients as fresh pineapple, meaning they do not carry the same health benefits.  Canned fruits are lower in fiber and the juice is mostly devoid of fiber, because it is filtered.  The canning process destroys many nutrients, including half of the vitamin C and all of the bromelain.  The bottom line, choose fresh pineapple for maximum anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

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