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Add pineapple to your diet to heal injuries faster and boost post-workout gains, and get more bang for your buck when you toss it in a shake. Pineapple is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that plays an integral role in tissue growth and healing. “It helps repair and maintain cartilage and bones, which is especially helpful for athletes,” says Ruth Frechman, R.D.
Pineapple also provides fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels; vitamin B6, which helps with the formation of red blood cells; and manganese, a mineral needed in trace amounts but not often found in today’s heavily processed foods.
“What stands out to me [about pineapple] is that it contains the enzyme bromelain,” Frechman says. Bromelain aids in the digestion of protein, and it may be used to curb inflammation in athletic injuries.
As long as extra sugar isn’t added to pineapple, it maintains its health benefi ts regardless of whether it’s fresh, canned, or in juice form.