In the wellness blogging sphere and health world, there tends to be a fear of dessert. Of course, everyone’s aware of the raw treat’s era, but that’s about where we’ve stopped when it comes to ‘healthy’ desserts. I want to tell you a big wellness secret: we don’t need to succumb to endlessly chewing on raw brownies or bliss balls to be healthy (I’m certainly no hater because I know that they’re delicious but there’s a time and place, people)!
I would like for you to take a second, hold my hand (through the computer screen… yes, I see you, extend that hand out right now), and close your eyes. Listen to me as I say this: health is all about moderation, not deprivation. You’re allowed to eat dessert, in fact, I encourage you to do so. While we eat nutritious food to keep our bodies thriving, we need dessert to keep us sane!
If you’re looking for a gut-healing dessert to have on hand for any and every occasion, you can’t go past my Pan-fried Pineapple with Mint and Coconut Yoghurt from Supercharge Your Gut. Speaking of gut supercharging, Supercharge Your Gut is filled with the latest research on all things gut-connection and some seriously delicious, gut-supercharging recipes. Not only will Supercharge Your Gut help you take care of your gut, it will also help you supercharge your life, which will provide positive consequences for both your mental health and overall wellness. You can find the link to it here.
After cooking up a storm of a main meal, my philosophy about dessert is simple: the simpler, the better. However, simple doesn’t have to mean a couple of cut-up, depressed old strawberries or a boring bowl of name-brand vanilla ice-cream. If you’re ready for a dessert that’ll take your tastebuds to paradise and beyond, it’s time to hone in on one of my favourite fruits, the mighty pineapple. Now, I know pineapple can look a little intimidating from the outside but trust me when I say this: it’s most definitely worth the fight.
The versatile and low-fructose pineapple contains an anti-inflammatory digestive enzyme known as bromelain - you know, the one that makes your tongue feel a little bit fuzzy after eating too much of it. Digestive enzymes are a vital tool when trying to maintain or rebuild gut health. They help break down larger molecules of food into more easily absorbed particles and so, are essential for good digestion and nutrient absorption. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to break down our foods properly. Through a whole range of complicated digestive processes, these enzymes break our food down into amino acids, fatty acids, cholesterol, simple sugars and nucleic acids.
In cases of leaky gut, digestive enzymes can help take the stress off the gastrointestinal tract and counteract the enzyme inhibitors that are found in nuts, seeds, beans, potatoes and lentils. People who have age-related enzyme insufficiency, leaky gut, liver disease, Crohn’s disease and other digestive diseases may require digestive enzymes in the form of supplements. However, certain foods, such as our wonderful pineapple, can naturally enhance digestive enzyme production. Bromelain can also help fight inflammation, assist in nutrient absorption and aid digestion. This means it’s a perfect ingredient to include if you’re experiencing any pain, tenderness, redness or indigestion. Did you know that pineapple has been used as a natural remedy for indigestion and allergies for centuries? I’m a sucker for traditional uses of foods! I just find it so fascinating… Anyway…
While fresh pineapple is obviously delicious, when it’s pan-fried, it’s seriously next level. I’m talking caramelised and gooey in the best way possible. Cooking pineapple will also help break down the tough cell walls of this fruit, making it easier to digest all of the goodness and nutrients.
Pan-fried pineapple pairs perfectly with probiotic-rich coconut yoghurt. Probiotics are high in anti-bacterial properties, which helps us grow the friendly bacteria in our guts. While this is useful for everyone because we all want sparkly-clean and functioning guts, it’s especially important for those who’ve taken an antibiotic for a winter flu or other ailment. Probiotics can help get your gut back into tip-top shape after antibiotics and even reduce antibiotic-related diarrhoea and constipation. Other factors that dismantle microbial diversity include acid-blocking drugs, stress, modern environmental toxins, chemicals in our water supply, pesticides on our food, using antibacterial soaps and cleansers, and the rising preference for planned caesarean sections, which can actually negatively impact our future generations microbial biodiversity.
However, there is some good news! We CAN help increase our microbial diversity by eating a wholefood, organic, varied and colourful diet filled with delicious foods, that include a range of probiotics. Probiotics are necessary for aiding digestion and helping with absorption of important nutrients to produce serotonin, the happiness hormone. But I mean, how can you not be happy when my baked pineapple recipe makes you feel like you’re sitting under a cabana in Fiji, drinking a Pina Colada and getting caught in the rain?
Not only does coconut yoghurt add to the gut-healing goodness of the recipe, the creaminess of the yoghurt cuts through the sweetness of the pineapple in all the right ways. This combination of classic summer flavours, pineapple, mint and coconut yoghurt is sweet, creamy, rich and plain old delicious. Trust me, everyone will be saying crème br-who? by the time they get their hands on this gut-friendly indulgence. Oh, and unlike most desserts out there, it won’t leave your tummy tied up in knots. Now that’s dessert with benefits. You’re welcome.
This dish is best served warm with some creamy coconut yoghurt and zesty lime. If you’re looking for more deliciously gut-friendly recipes, be sure to check out Supercharge Your Gut.
Pan-fried Pineapple with Mint and Coconut Yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 6 pineapple wedges, skin removed
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 250 g (9 oz/1 cup) coconut yoghurt
- mint leaves, to garnish
- Melt the coconut oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the pineapple, drizzle with the lime juice and cook for 4–5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Serve warm, with coconut yoghurt, garnished with the mint and lime zest.