One of the sweetest tropical fruits out there, pineapple isn’t only a celebration for your mouth, it has many health benefits. And these great benefits largely come from a little-known compound called bromelain.
Bromelain and Pineapples – Fantastic Health Boosters
Bromelain is a proteolytic (protein digesting) enzyme that is most concentrated within the core and stem of the tropical fruit. For centuries, people of South and Central America, where pineapples are native, have used the fruit to treat indigestion and inflammation. Just before the turn of the century, bromelain was isolated from the fruit and began being used in westernized medicine.
Bromelain works on a variety of fronts to encourage healing and discourage illness. It has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It is said to prevent unhealthy blood clots and improve digestion.
A 2007 study found bromelain may even be better than 5-fluorouracil (a chemotherapy drug) at treating tumors. That’s right, scientists found that the anti-tumor effects of bromelain were superior to the effects of the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil. Wait, 2007? Yes, this means the research has been out for over 5 years and you still haven’t heard about it.
We can’t be surprised when research highlighting the amazing benefits of natural substances are buried by the system. After all, what pharmaceutical company can profit when you are telling people that pineapple could be better than Big Pharma’s beloved chemo?
Additional benefits of bromelain include:
- Reduced swelling in soft-tissue injuries and post-surgical recovery
- Healing of tissues affected by burns and wounds
- Reduced sinus irritation and inflammation
- Pain relief in arthritis patients
- Reduced infection rates
Like most beneficial natural foods, bromelain has been taken out of the pineapple and turned into a potential profit-making supplement. While the concentrated form of bromelain found in supplements may be a better choice for those who want to see immediate benefits in the treatment of arthritis, for instance, most of us can likely get plenty from the fruit itself.
Bromelain is concentrated in the core of the pineapple. This is a little tougher than the outermost parts, but is still deliciously sweet and very much edible.