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Food for Thought: Pineapples

Breaking news: Science proves why pineapples should be on pizza. Read this short article to learn more about this summer fruit.

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Image from Pexels

One scorching August afternoon, my greedy self was enjoying slices of fresh, cold pineapple. One after the other. Just then, everything went wrong. A burning sensation engulfed my mouth. The top of my tongue was on fire. I could not taste anything. At that point, I knew I had enough pineapple for the day.

But why? Why does this delicious fruit come with such a painful aftermath? Is it so humans do not overeat pineapples to the point of extinction? That seems reasonable….right?

pineapple
Image from Procaffenation

Actually, pineapple contains bromelain, a plant protease enzyme that is often used as a meat tenderizer. Bromelain is a corrosive chemical that breaks down amino acids including those in your body. The acidity of the pineapple damages the protective mucous of the tongue and roof of the mouth. (1) However, an individual’s body will recreate any damaged cells. Due to its efficient and quick ability to break down protein, bromelain causes our taste buds to feel a stingy sensation. In fact, bromelain is abundant in the stem area that is harder to chew due to its nutritious core. (2) Together, the bromelain and acid from this fine fruit create one of the most painful stings.

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Image from Wikimedia Commons

There are multiple ways to address this issue. A cool tip to reduce some of the irritation is soaking the peeled pineapple in salt water beforehand. According to rumors, leaving a pineapple to sit overnight may reduce this itchy factor, but it is safer to just avoid the core part of the pineapple. One can pair pineapple with a creamy dairy product like yogurt or ice cream, creating a delicious combination and neutralizing the acidic pH. (3) Furthermore, it is best to cook the pineapple by grilling, roasting, or blanching it as this removes the majority of the enzymes. More importantly, this suggestion just further proves why pineapples should be on pizzas.

Like any other fruit, pineapples are rich in vitamins, enzyme, and antioxidants, strengthening the immune system and bone structure. According to nutritionist Laura Flores, “pineapples contain a high amount of vitamin C and manganese, which is important for antioxidant defenses.” (4) Additionally, the abundant amount of vitamin C fights cell damage, making it a useful defense against heart disease. Other health benefits of pineapple include improving vision, regulating blood pressure, improving blood circulation, aiding digestion, and much more. (5)

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Image from Pexels

All in all, it is important to know the facts behind your food consumption, letting you make the best of your experience. Now, go eat as much pineapple as your heart desires.  


References and Footnotes

  1. Jampel, Sarah. “A Trick That Keeps Pineapple From Burning Your Mouth When You Eat a Ton.” Bon Appetit, Bon Appétit, 7 Mar. 2018, http://www.bonappetit.com/story/pineapple-tongue-burn-trick.
  2. Chen, Susannah. “Burning Question: Why Does Pineapple Irritate Your Mouth?” POPSUGAR Tech, 28 July 2018, http://www.popsugar.com/food/Burning-Question-Why-Does-Pineapple-Irritate-Your-Mouth-3098109.
  3. Jampel, Sarah. “A Trick That Keeps Pineapple From Burning Your Mouth When You Eat a Ton.” Bon Appetit, Bon Appétit, 7 Mar. 2018, http://www.bonappetit.com/story/pineapple-tongue-burn-trick.
  4. Szalay, Jessie. “Pineapple: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts.” LiveScience, Purch, 19 Jan. 2018, http://www.livescience.com/45487-pineapple-nutrition.html.
  5. “17 Amazing Benefits of Pineapples.” Organic Facts, Organic Facts, 13 Aug. 2018, http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/pineapples.html.

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