Is there really a place for pineapple on top of a pizza? We don’t think so, either! Why not try it in Love Struck’s delicious Firestarter instead – a spellbinding mixture of pineapple, coconut, mango, and lime, with a kick of heat from the chilli. And rather than adding apple juice, you can take it one step further by adding a 50/50 mixture of pineapple juice and water to bring out even more delicious tropical flavours.
Let’s talk about pineapples
European explorers first discovered pineapples in South America, where they named them after the plant’s resemblance to a pinecone. Frankly, it’s a miraculous fruit. It’s been a stalwart in traditional medicine for generations, and thanks to a remarkably impressive profile of nutrients – Vitamin C and manganese, in particular, (131% and 76% of your RDA, respectively) – few can argue about the incredible properties of this delicious fruit.
Vitamin C is vital for development and growth, a healthy immune system, and enables you to absorb iron from the other foods that you consume. Manganese, on the other hand, maintains healthy metabolism and is valued for its antioxidant properties. Its star role sees manganese fight those dangerous free radicals that can lead to chronic inflammation and a weakened immune system. It’s a crucial nutrient, that’s for sure!
In spite of these wondrous benefits of pineapples, we actually want to focus on bromelain, which helps you recoverr following an intense workout, helps your stomach settle after you’ve gorged on too much food, and even fights cancerous cells. Oh, and did we mention that it also helps your kids recover more quickly from sinus infections? Talk about a superfood! Let’s dive into the details of these benefits now.
Classified as a digestive enzyme, bromelain works as a protease. Its fundamental purpose is to break down protein molecules into building blocks, including small peptides and amino acids. This is important because protein molecules are much easier for your small intestine to ingest once they have already been broken down. This is super helpful for people who suffer from pancreatic insufficiency, which is a condition that means the pancreas is incapable of producing sufficient digestive enzymes.
Another key characteristic of bromelain is the fact that it can break down tough meat proteins. Who knew – maybe adding some pineapple to a meat feast pizza is a good idea after all?
Multiple studies have indicated that pineapple and its compounds might reduce the risk of cancerous cells developing. The reason for this is that they reduce inflammation and minimize oxidative stress.
For instance, in two groundbreaking test-tube studies, bromelain was found to suppress the growth of breast cancer cells and even stimulated the death of the cells. Other non-human test-tube studies have found that bromelain has the potential to suppress cancer in the colon, gastric system, bile duct, and skin, which is extremely promising.
Scientists believe that bromelain is capable of making white blood cells that stimulate the immune system and suppress cancer cell growth while eliminating some cancer cells entirely. Of course, you would need to eat an awful lot of pineapple to ingest sufficient quantities of bromelain into your system (equal to that of a supplement), and it’s perhaps too early to draw conclusions in the absence of human studies, but it’s still a promising start, and there’s no reason not to enjoy more pineapple!
Kids inflammation and immunity
To see what would happen to their immunity, one study fed 98 healthy children lots (280g) of pineapple, some (140g) pineapple, or no pineapple at all. The study found conclusively that children who ate pineapples had a much lower risk of bacterial and viral infections. Additionally, the children who were selected to eat the most pineapple had up to four times as many disease-fighting white blood cells – known as granulocytes – than the kids within the other two groups.
Interestingly, a separate study discovered that when children were given a bromelain supplement, they recovered much faster from a sinus infection when compared to standard treatment. We hear you – what’s the easiest way to get your kids to eat pineapple? Coco Loco!
It might help with arthritis
In the United Kingdom, arthritis affects more than ten million adults. And while there are various types of arthritis, most of them result from joint inflammation. Research into bromelain from the 1960s indicated that it successfully relieved joint pain for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
More recently, a study learned that osteoarthritis patients who took a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain found it equally as successful in relieving pain as diclofenac – a common arthritic medication.
Post-surgery recovery or intense exercise
One study indicated that people who took bromelain prior to receiving dental surgery had much less pain and generally felt better than those who didn’t. The study also showed that it provided comparable pain relief to anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen.
Particularly intense or strenuous exercise is known to damage muscle tissue and cause inflammation. This results in muscle aches and pains for up to three days after exercise. But bromelain (and other proteases) are thought to increase the speed at which your muscles can recover, as it targets and reduces inflammation around the muscle tissue that has been damaged by exercise.
To test this theory out, one study provided participants with a digestive enzyme supplement containing bromelain after exercising intensely on a treadmill for 45 minutes. The results were clear: the people who took the supplement had more strength afterwards and less inflammation.
Therefore, pineapple and its star nutrient bromelain are incredible when it comes to improving your health and wellbeing, and we would absolutely recommend you add more of it to your diet.
But we need to end with a quick warning. If you have an existing latex allergy, you might be more at risk of suffering an allergic reaction to pineapples. Symptoms include the swelling of your tongue/throat/face/lips combined with breathing difficulties, intense itching, sinus congestion, constipation, dizziness, fainting, and anaphylactic shock. Please consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
So, all that’s left is to figure out how to cut a pineapple! Or, you can let us take care of the prep for you. In the meantime, stay well and get more pineapple into your diet.