Growing up in Latin America, one thing that was never missing in my family’s kitchen was fruits. Tropical fruits were always my favorite. I love their taste, color, and aroma. As a registered dietitian and active person, I value them more than ever for all their health promoting nutrients. They are chock-full of vitamins, minerals and plant antioxidants known as polyphenols. This combination of nutrients will maintain your energy and immune system in check when training.
Here are four tropical fruits you should be eating while working out.
This succulent fruit is the second richest source of manganese. This essential mineral helps break down protein and fats and regulates blood sugar. Adequate levels of manganese assist in keeping the immune system strong and body energized. Pineapple is also known to contain bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties. It is used as a treatment to reduce swelling caused by sprains and minor muscle injuries.
Guava is probably one of the most consumed fruits in Latin America. We enjoy them fresh, in smoothies, juices and as a tasty guava paste. The fruit contains two immune boosting ingredients, vitamin A, and vitamin C which have a role in keeping your immune system on track. Guavas also have kaempferol and quercetin, two polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties that may help combat diseases.
Papaya is well-known for containing papain, a protein digestive enzyme, which assists with digestion. Papaya is rich in vitamin A and potassium. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin A is critical for optimum heart, lungs and kidney function. Potassium deficiency, on the other hand, may cause muscle cramps.
One of my favorite fruits for its versatility and refreshing flavor are mangoes. I love cooking and I use them in appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. It contains heart disease-fighting compounds including fiber and potassium. Mango is also full of plyphenols, mangiferin, and quercetin, with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.