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The Pineapple Powerhouse

Pineapples are tropical fruit that are rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. They may help boost the immune system, build strong bones and aid indigestion. Also, despite their sweetness, pineapples are low in calories.

If you haven’t heard that quote yet, then thank goodness we’re bringing you into the 21st century!

In all seriousness, besides being a symbol of strength, the delicious pineapple is, in fact, a nutrient powerhouse.

Did you know just 1 cup of the golden goddess packs 22 grams of dietary carbohydrates, 21 milligrams of calcium, 0.5 milligrams of iron, 20 milligrams of magnesium, 180 milligrams of potassium, 79 milligrams of vitamin C, 30 micrograms of folate and 1.8 milligrams of manganese?

While it may seem unfamiliar to pick up a bowl of pineapple postworkout, there’s good reason to consider adding it to your meal plan.

For instance, in comparison to a small banana (less than 6 inches in length), a cup of fresh pineapple has more dietary carbohydrates, calcium, iron, vitamin C, folate and manganese. While a banana still delivers more potassium, when paired with the right foods (like the black bean salsa here), pineapple can help you reach nearly 35 percent of your daily value of the electrolyte.

Pineapple is also the fruit that contains the most manganese, an important trace mineral present in plant foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Manganese plays an important role as a cofactor for metalloenzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism.

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for manganese range from 1.5 milligrams per day for women to 2.3 milligrams per day for men. While a deficiency is generally uncommon, it can occur. Phytates (a nutrient found in foods like bran, potatoes and certain beans) can bind with minerals and inhibit their absorption, thus causing a concern for manganese deficiency if one’s diet is high in these foods. Plus, an excessive intake of iron and/or calcium via supplements also can inhibit manganese absorption.

A study funded in 2015 by the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences found that not only did 80.8 percent of the 146 male and female athletes consume lower than the recommended amount of carbohydrates in their diet, but the diet of female athletes was also low in dietary fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese and zinc. A diet deficient in manganese can lead to low serum cholesterol, a rash and scaly skin, and impaired growth in children.

Now, before you make a beeline for the supplement cart online, be mindful that manganese does have an upper limit, meaning adverse health conditions may result (like abnormal central nervous system effects) if you consume more than 11 milligrams a day.

Considering that pineapple offers such a wide nutrient profile, it’s a great addition to your favorite recipes! For instance, this pineapple black bean salsa is a great way to get the benefits of the pineapple powerhouse alongside the protein and fiber found in black beans.

Alex Caspero, an exercise physiologist and registered dietitian specializing in vegetarian nutrition, recommends incorporating black beans for an easy postworkout option. “In addition to protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates, beans also contain important recovery vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium and folate — making them a healthy addition to any postworkout snack or meal,” she says.

So, my friends, stand tall and don’t fear the bean! When paired with a nutrient powerhouse like pineapple, this synergistic combo will give your taste buds something to look forward to after crushing that workout.

Pineapple Black Bean Salsa

Tags: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

Serves: 4, 1-cup servings

Prep Time: 20 Minutes


• 1 (15.5-oz) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• ¼ small red onion, finely chopped

• 2 cups fresh chopped pineapple

• 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered

• 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

• 1 medium avocado, cut into ¼-inch pieces

• ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

• 1 small lime, juice only (about 2 tbsp)

• ⅛ tsp ground black pepper

• ¼ tsp kosher salt


1. To a medium bowl, add black beans, minced garlic, onions, pineapple, tomatoes, jalapeños and avocado. Gently mix ingredients together using a spatula until combined.

2. Add in chopped cilantro, lime juice, black pepper and kosher salt. Mix again.

3. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for an hour to allow flavors to meld together.

4. Store in airtight container in refrigerator and use within three days for best quality.

Serving Suggestions: Pair with corn tortilla chips for a snack, over mixed greens for a light lunch or in between taco shells with a lean protein for dinner.

Nutrition Information (per 1 cup): calories 190, total fat 4.5 g, saturated fat 0.5 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 290 mg, carbs 37 g, dietary fiber 12 g, total sugar 10 g, added sugar 0 g, protein 8 g, calcium 71 mg (6%), iron 2 mg (10%), potassium 712 mg (15%), vitamin C 59 mg, manganese 0.75 mg

*Analysis calculated using The Food Processor SQL