12 May 2021 / Food Facts
Pineapples like most fruit are a nutrient packed snack option perfect for a hot summer’s day or thrown into smoothies, but where pineapples stand apart is with their added health benefit of Bromelain.
Bromelain is an enzyme only found in the fruit and stem of the pineapple plant. Enzymes are proteins that help speed up the chemical reactions within cells. There are many types of enzymes in the body, Bromelain is a type of enzyme known as a protease. A protease separates large proteins into its building blocks, amino acids.
Why does my tongue tickle when I eat pineapples?
Bromelain separates the proteins lining the mouth into its amino acids and in combination with pineapples acidic profile can provoke a tickling sensation. Thankfully, our cells regenerate in no time at all, so the feeling will subside quicky. One way to stop this effect all together is by grilling or cooking pineapples, think pineapple upside down cake or barbequed pineapple. This is effective as heat changes the structure of the protein in a process that known as denaturation. As the structure has undergone significant change so too does the function, ridding pineapple of its ability to tickle our tongues.
Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation in the body occurs as an immune response to injury and chronic disease. While some inflammation is needed in the body to protect us from infection, inflammation can be damaging when it occurs in healthy tissues or lasts too long. This is then termed chronic inflammation and is associated with diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, mental illness, and metabolic diseases like type two diabetes.
While the effects of Bromelain haven’t been studied extensively in human trials, early in vitro and animals research has alluded to its potential to act as a fibrinolytic (think blood clot busting) and an anti-inflammatory, reducing post-surgical inflammation and trauma, and as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis.
In general, it appears Bromelain eliminates the receptors on immune cells that respond to mostly signals that generate inflammation. Without this signalling in the body, inflammation can occur to the same extent and a relative state of anti-inflammation appears to occur.
Not only can a pineapple provide anti-inflammatory effects but a single serve of pineapple (roughly 100g) can provide almost 100% of your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C! Vitamin C helps boost iron and zinc absorption from other foods and is important for immunity and wound healing. Manganese is also present in high quantities in pineapples with a single serve providing one-third of the RDI for an adult. Manganese is important for bone formation and the metabolism of carbohydrate, cholesterol and amino acids.
With the health benefits of pineapple consumption undeniably impressive, check out the Locavore meal plan on Taste Capricorn Coast or head to www.puregoldpineapples.com.au for some delicious ideas on how to incorporate more pineapple into your diet.