Emerging Markets / November 8, 2018

The Benefits of Coconut and Pineapple

The Benefits of Coconut and Pineapple

Coconut and pineapple are two of the most popular tropical fruits out there. They even have their own tropical cocktail! But beyond the exotic nature of these fruits lies substantial health and nutrition benefits that most people don’t fully understand.

Coconut: A Versatile Ingredient

This beautiful white fruit has made a name for itself recently, and it’s now found in just about every different form you can imagine. It’s also being used in a slew of new ways, from cooking to beauty regimens.

The truth is that coconut is a lot healthier than many people give it credit for. It’s rich in fiber and full of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and E, iron, selenium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Its water is high in electrolytes, which help keep the body properly hydrated, while the flesh (or meat) and oil that comes from it is an excellent source of healthy fat that helps give HDL – the ‘good’ cholesterol – a boost.

Coconut oil is perhaps the easiest form to consume in quantities. Add a couple tablespoons of melted oil to smoothies, soups, and even hot drinks (like coffee) and slowly stir it in until it combines. Replace traditional vegetable oil with coconut oil in baked goods and use it for roasting, sautéing, and pan frying. As a saturated fat, it’s extremely safe for cooking at high temperatures.

Coconut milk is a great replacement for regular milk in recipes, both sweet and savory. It’s particularly good in creamy soups, stews, and curries, or as a non-dairy smoothie base. Use desiccated, shredded, or flaked coconut to top smoothies or yogurt bowls, on top of fresh fruit, and even as a garnish for baked goods like cakes and cupcakes. Coconut chips – essentially dehydrated coconut – make a nice, crunchy snack that will keep you from reaching for the potato chips. And if you have coconut butter on hand, try spreading it on toast or muffins or drizzling some onto sweet potatoes, popcorn, or roasted veggies.

All About Pineapple

For most people, pineapple is just a quick snack – it’s one of those fruits that you probably don’t think about the benefits of because it’s not really in the news.

Despite being so sweet, pineapples are actually quite low in calories (though fairly high in natural sugars) and are a great source of various vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. The fruit contains high amounts of fiber, vitamin C, and manganese, which is important for proper brain and nerve function and plays a role in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. It also has thiamin, a water-soluble B vitamin that helps cells change carbs into energy. Finally, fresh pineapple is well known in the realm of anti-inflammatory foods, as it contains bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme that helps reduce inflammation in the body.

The easiest way to eat more pineapple is to ensure you have it already cut and ready to grab. Fresh pineapples can be a bit messy to cut up, and you’re unlikely to opt for it as a quick snack if it’s not ready to eat. Buy a fresh, whole pineapple from the supermarket and cut it up as soon as you get home, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for the week.

Once you have the pineapple ready to go, there are numerous possibilities to include it in your diet regularly. First, it’s an excellent sweet component in smoothies – particularly vegetable-based ones that really need that boost of sweetness to be enjoyable. Pineapple is also a good pairing for chicken, meat, and fish. In a salsa, it works well with bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. It holds up well on the grill and in a pan, making it ideal for stir fries, skewers, and even as a topping for burgers. For kids, consider blending up fresh pineapple and freezing it in popsicle molds. And, of course, you can also eat it by the forkful, right out of the container!

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