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A healthy staple for centuries, the pineapple is a tropical fruit that packs in the vitamin C and body-building mineral manganese.

Prickly on the outside, sweet and juicy within, the pineapple has been a healthy staple for centuries. Native to Brazil and Paraguay, the fruit arrived in Central America and the West Indies via migrating tribes centuries before Columbus. European explorers in the 16th century then carried the sweet-tart treat as far as India, the Philippines, and China. It's since become a major commercial crop everywhere from Hawaii to South Africa, and no wonder:

One cup of pineapple has only 74 calories and provides 94% of your RDA of vitamin C. It's also high in manganese, an important mineral for the body's muscle tone and nerve and bone health. A good source of dietary fiber, pineapple contains the enzyme bromelin, which breaks down protein and may aid in digestion and even help the body heal.

For other natural sources of manganese, reach for raspberries, soybeans, and spinach.


Pineapple Beef Sirloin Shish Kabobs

Makes 6 servings

11/2 pounds beef top sirloin

1 fresh pineapple

8-ounce package fresh mushrooms, stems removed

2 red peppers, cut into chunks

1 onion, cut into chunks


1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ginger

  1. Cut the beef into 1 1/4 by 1 1/4 inch pieces.
  2. Quarter the pineapple and slice into chunks, after cutting out the tough inner core. Squeeze the skin for juice for the marinade.
  3. Combine ingredients for marinade and place in a freezer-size zippered bag. Add the meat pieces and toss to coat. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  4. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade. Pour the marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil; set aside for basting.
  5. Evenly thread the beef pieces alternately with the mushrooms, peppers, onions, and pineapple onto 12-inch metal skewers.
  6. Place the kabobs on the grill over medium heat and grill, covered, about 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning once and basting frequently with the marinade.

Per serving: 290 calories, 10 g fat, 3.6 g saturated fat, 25 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 26 g protein, 74 mg cholesterol, 101 mg vitamin C, 51 mg calcium. Calories from fat: 31%.

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