We’re told by health professionals, the internet and friends and family alike (who should really mind their own damn business) that we should always eat our fruit and vegetables. We’re told the benefits are wonderful; tiny disease-fighting molecules do stuff to our body beyond our comprehension so even if we don’t like them, we should wolf them down so we can live forever (relatively speaking).
As it turns out, the pineapple is a fruit that stands out from the rest because it can do so much for us. It’s not just necessarily because of its sweet tang, but pineapple has a plethora of health benefits and we should be eating it as much as possible.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is said to have magical anti-inflammatory and digestive properties. While the effects of bromelain haven’t been studied extensively, it’s also said to have a number of other health benefits, ranging from reducing pain and soreness after a workout to alleviating the symptoms of allergies.
While you can take bromelain as a supplement, the only natural food source of bromelain is pineapple, which is found in the stem, core and the juice of a pineapple. We should, in theory, be trying to incorporate a lot more pineapple (bromelain) in our diet.
The anti-inflammatory properties in bromelain relieve swelling and expedite recovery, great for those who love the gym (and said gym-like activities). One study that evaluated bromelain’s ability to treat patients found that it supported wound healing and helped decrease pain and swelling following operations.
Dr Josh Axe, one of the people involved in the study said: “of the 80 people who participated in the study, those who were prescribed bromelain (as a supplement) reported ‘significantly lower’ post-operation pain, swelling, and even redness, compared to the control group who received a generic painkiller.”
It’s a pretty small sample size – more research needs to be conducted – but the results are promising. It would hurt to add some pineapple juice to a smoothie post workout too.
Dietitian Maggie Moon says you should also reach for some pineapple when you are constipated. “Bromelain breaks down protein, such as collagen, down into its amino acids,” says Moon. “It helps digest protein before it enters the mouth, giving the body a head-start in digesting protein foods.”
Because bromelain makes the breakdown faster, it can help get things moving around down there if you’re having trouble keeping your movements regular. That’s why people on high-protein diets, like Paleo or Keto, can benefit from bromelain if they’re having trouble pooping.
While this isn’t really a health benefit, bromelain is said to make your cooking easier and meats tastier. As mentioned, bromelain is an enzyme that breaks down protein. Therefore, a little pineapple juice is a great meat tenderizer. “Don’t marinate it for too long or you end up with mush – there is such a thing as meat that is too tender!” Moon says.
While there is some bromelain in pineapple flesh, most of the high bromelain content is found in the core. So save that core for your morning juice when you can. If you’re not a pineapple fan, you can still take a bromelain supplement, just speak to a physician so they can decide the right amount for you. And before you go, yes, the thing about pineapple making your… bodily fluids taste better is 100 percent true.