When it comes to a wholesome diet, certain foods offer more health benefits than others. Dubbed "superfoods" by marketers and health enthusiasts, many contain compounds that reduce risks for certain types of disease, prevent inflammation, improve digestion, increase energy, or all of the above.  People looking for superfoods combining sweet flavor with powerful nutrition should add three fruits that start with the letter "P" to the grocery cart.


1. Pineapple

Sweet, juicy pineapple is a fruit containing many health benefits.  It is a rich source of the enzyme bromelain, a multi-tasking compound that acts as a digestive aid by helping to break down proteins.  Bromelain's blood and mucus thinning properties encourage a healthier circulatory system and help relieve asthma symptoms.  Research shows that bromelain also helps with indigestion, and reduces inflammation, so it is often recommended to arthritis sufferers and to people who have just had surgery.  Pineapple also contains rich sources of fiber, vitamins B1 and C, beta-carotene and the minerals copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

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2. Papaya

Named the "fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus, papaya offers a number of powerful health benefits.  It contains an enzyme called papain which also helps in the digestion of protein and helps prevent or reduce inflammation.  Papaya is also a rich source of nutrients with antioxidant properties like vitamins A and C, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid.


The leaves of the papaya plant have shown remarkable effects against cancerous tumors in the laboratory including those of the breast, cervix, liver, lung and pancreas. Dr. Nam Dang from the University of Florida and his research team treated 10 different types of cancer cell cultures with varying strengths of papaya leaf extract, and within 24 hours, tumor growth slowed in all cultures.


3. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C as well as calcium and phosphorus. They also contain unique polyphenols and fatty acids that offer amazing health benefits.

Research from the University of California found that consumption of pomegranate juice might help prevent metastasis (or spread of cancer cells to other areas of the body).  Pomegranate juice also appears to block the development of aromatase, an estrogen-producing enzyme that encourages the spread of breast cancer.

People looking for superfoods can't go wrong when they turn to the letter "P."  Pineapple, pomegranates and papaya offer an abundance of powerful nutrients and disease fighting properties.  They are delicious when eaten individually, included in a smoothie, or mixed together in a tropical fruit salad.