Brought to you by Pure Gold Pineapples
Did you know that pineapples have a long tradition as a medicinal plant among the natives of South and Central America? The secret ingredient? Bromelain!
If you’ve never heard of Bromelain, you’re not alone! It’s not exactly an everyday ingredient. Well, it might be. So what are these fabulous benefits so many speak of?
We sat down with highly respected Dietician Dr Jo McMillan to get the lowdown on this magical fruit and just what associated health benefits eating raw pineapple has for us and our kids!
So what is Bromelain?
Bromelain is a mix of enzymes found in pineapples. More specifically, it’s found in the core of the fruit. Dr McMillan said “To get a really significant dose of bromelain you need to eat the core of the pineapple. So traditionally what you do is you top and peel the pineapple, cut the skin off and cut it in quarters, and you cut off the core that’s a bit tougher. But, actually that’s where most of the bromelain is.” She goes on to say, “You’ll get small amounts throughout the flesh of it, but that’s where most of it’s found – in the core.”
So can I just eat canned pineapple?
In short, no. If you’re wanting to achieve the health benefits that bromlain brings, you’ll need to eat the pineapple raw. During the canning process the pineapple is heated to make it sterile and keeps it fresh for you to eat. Not only does sterilisation rid the fruit of germs and increase shelf life, it also destroys the bromelain.
What can bromelain do for you?
Bromelain has so many health benefits, we thought we’d list them out just to show you how powerful it is, and how easily adapting this wonderfully sweet eating fruit all year round into your daily diet can vastly improve your health and wellbeing.
General Benefits of Fresh Pineapple
- Bromelain works as an anti-inflammatory and is perfect for anyone suffering from osteoarthritis!
- Bromelain also functions as a blood thinner, helping to reduce excessive coagulation of the blood
- Reduces muscle soreness after workouts so combine raw pineapple with your protein shake (refer below)
- Pineapples also contain manganese which helps to regulate brain and nerve function.
- The high levels of manganese are also resonsible for strong bones
- Eating fruit reduces the risk of chronic disease
- Bromelain can assist in killing rogue cells, such as the cancerous variety
- Pineapple is high in fibre which helps keep you regular and your organs in good health
- Bromelain can assist in helping with fertility (refer below)
- Pineapples contain high amounts of Vitamin C – perfect to stave off the winter bugs!
- Increased energy production thanks to their high amounts of thiamin
- Pineapples are also fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium.
- Reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the your eyes as you age, thanks to it’s high levels of Vitamin C and Antioxidants!
- Bromelain can reduce mucus in the throat and nose so is perfect to eat when you have a cold
- If you have an allergy, consider incorporating regular consumption of pineapple into your diet to reduce sinus mucus long term.
- Pineapple is nature’s natural sweetener! Add it to your cooking and avoid the need for sugar!
Benefits for Women
If you’ve heard the rumours that eating pineapple helps with fertility, they may not be 100 percent true. In fact, there aren’t enough studies on the subject to prove anything one way or the other. That said, eating the healthy fruit can potentially benefit you if you’re trying to get pregnant. This doesn’t mean the bromelain will assist or help along your baby hopes. But, instead that the health effects of the chemical component can impact your overall well-being.
Dr. McMillan notes (on pineapples and fertility), “The truth is we really don’t know enough about it. I can’t find a single clinical study to back this up, because it would be a really hard thing to study.” She adds, “So, we know by reducing inflammations and by helping stopping the blood from clotting there can potentially be benefits from bromelain. So, I kind of say why not try it. It’s a healthy food anyway. It’s giving women fibre. It’s giving them vitamin C. It’s got some additional vital nutrients that might just be beneficial for overall health.”
Even though there’s no evidence connecting pineapple directly to increased fertility, as Dr. McMillan points out, it’s a healthy fruit to try!
Will eating pineapple cure cancer? That’s not likely. But, the bromelain inside of it can help cancer patients. The chemical compound starts a process within cancer cells, killing them. This anti-cancer action is a stand-out effect that makes bromelain all that more appealling.
You’ve lifted weights, taken a pliates class or have just gotten back from a jog. Your muscles feel the pain and strain of exercise. Dr. McMillan says, “There are one or two studies that have shown a benefit in terms of reducing muscle soreness post workout.”
When it comes to eating pineapples to get rid of muscle soreness, McMillan points out, “So, when you finish your strength training workout you actually want to have a combination of carbohydrate protein to get that insulin response and the protein to ensure the amino acids are there in the bloodstream to be taken up into the muscles.” This means that you need to eat a balanced snack post-workout. Add in pineapple, but make sure to compliment it with some form of protein.