Got an achy back? A bummed knee? Then indulge in the real joint-soothing power of the pick-me-up that comes from pineapple.
Pineapple—be part of an icy drink, a fruit salad, or a barbecue kabob, it contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelain. New research shows that bromelain soothes your cells by reducing the migration of white blood cells to sites of inflammation -- like sunburned skin, injured muscles, and arthritic joints.
To pick a ripe pineapple, select one that is firm but not hard and has a deep yellow-orange tone. To prepare this great fruit, first twist off the top leaves. Slice the top off, then take a slice off the bottom so it will stand up straight. Cut down the sides following the contour of the fruit. You can now cut rings or chunks.
To cut rings, lay the fruit on its side and make ˝ inch slices. Use a small, round cookie cutter to remove the core from each ring. For chunks, lay the fruit on its side, and slice the pineapple in half, then continue slicing strips lengthwise, then slice crosswise for chunks.
If you’re not a pineapple fan, you can get bromelain straight from a supplement. It might even be the preferred method, since you don’t get tons of bromelain from fresh pineapple (although FRESH is always best when considering all the other phtyo-nutrients and trace elements you get in the bargain). Doctors recommend about 100 milligrams of bromelain a day for sore joints. (Ask your doctor if this dose is safe for you.)
Besides incorporating fresh pineapple into fruit salads, cottage cheese, or eating alone, it is an incredible addition to muffins:
Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins
They glisten like sticky buns, but they're whole-grain muffins packed with pineapple, raisins, and carrots.
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 10-ounce can pineapple slices
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons pineapple juice or orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (not drained)
1 cup grated carrot (1 large)
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup raisins, preferably baking raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
To prepare topping: Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar into each muffin cup. Sprinkle nuts, if using, over the sugar. Stack pineapple slices and cut into 6 wedges. Place 2 wedges in each muffin cup.
To prepare muffins: Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in oil, juice, and vanilla. Stir in crushed pineapple. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in carrot, oats, raisins, and nuts, if using. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they'll be quite full).
Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and firm to the touch, 15 to 25 minutes. Immediately loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a baking sheet. Restore any stray pineapple pieces and nuts. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve upside down, either warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 dozen muffins.
Nutrition information (per muffin):
211 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat., 3 g mono.); 35 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 185 mg sodium.
Courtesy The RealAge Website
Download this recipe.
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