October is National Pineapple month which makes this the perfect time to share the many health benefits this yummy fruit has for your growing children. And yes, babies can eat pineapple too! Pineapples are delicious, low in calories and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Pineapples are also incredibly versatile and can be consumed in a variety of ways.
Loaded With Nutrients
Pineapples are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese, providing 131% and 76% of the daily recommendations, respectively. Vitamin C is essential for growth and development, a healthy immune system and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet. Meanwhile, manganese is a naturally occurring mineral that aids growth, maintains a healthy metabolism and has antioxidant properties
Pineapples are a good source of antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Many of the antioxidants in pineapple are bound, so they may have longer lasting effects.
Pineapples contain bromelain, a group of digestive enzymes that breaks down proteins. This may aid digestion, especially in those with pancreatic insufficiency.
Boost Immunity and Suppress Inflammation
Pineapples have anti-inflammatory properties that may boost the immune system. 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
Delicious and Easy to Add to the Diet
Pineapples are sweet, convenient and easy to incorporate into your diet. They are very affordable and available year-round in many American markets, as they can be purchased fresh, canned or frozen. You can enjoy them on their own or in smoothies, salads or on homemade pizzas.
- Breakfast: Pineapple, blueberry and Greek yogurt smoothie
- Salad: Tropical roast chicken, almond, blueberry and pineapple salad
- Lunch: Homemade Hawaiian burgers (beef burgers with a pineapple ring)
- Dinner: Baked ham with pineapple and cherries
- Dessert: Pineapple fruit salad