Did you know that pineapple has been a vital part of Hawaiian folk medicine for centuries? Most people don’t.
When you think of pineapple, you think of the perfect garnish for your tropical drinks, right? You probably don’t think of it as a powerful treatment for allergies and indigestion, and you most certainly don’t think of it as the main source of bromelain.
That just proves our point. 😉
Here’s a little known fact: Pineapple is one of the richest sources of one of the most effective protein-digestive enzymes in the world, bromelain. In one of our earlier posts (which you can read here) we covered the health benefits of protease enzymes. Today, we will be covering the health benefits of one specific protease enzyme — namely, bromelain.
So hopefully, after you are done reading this you will think twice about throwing away that pineapple that’s been sitting on your kitchen counter for days!
What is bromelain?
Quite simply, bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme (proteolytic being a more complicated term for protein-digesting enzyme) that is found naturally in the juice and stems of pineapples. Because bromelain is a protease enzyme, its main function is of course to aid the body in the digestion of proteins, but just like nattokinase, its benefits are not limited to the digestive system. This is because scientists believe bromelain to be absorbed by the body intact, so it is able to travel outside of the digestive track and help alleviate a number of health conditions.
What are the health benefits of bromelain?
Anti-inflammatory properties: Forget about over-the-counter drugs to reduce inflammation. Plenty of natural remedies can do the trick just fine… and bromelain is among them. Research has shown that bromelain is incredibly effective at reducing inflammation and pain. Bromelain becomes even more useful when treating surgeries and injuries.
Sinusitis treatment: Inflammation of the sinuses is not something that any of us ever wants to experience. Unfortunately, it is all too common. But here’s the good news: Bromelain can help with that too. Research has also shown that this enzyme may be able to reduce congestion and improve breathing while reducing inflammation at the same time.
Promotes healthy digestion: This might be the most obvious health benefit of bromelain, but it certainly isn’t the least of them. Because bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme, it helps the body digest proteins and absorb nutrients more easily. As a result, bromelain has been shown to alleviate a number of conditions such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease;
- Colon cancer;
- And many more.
Helps with osteoarthritis: Lastly, the usage of bromelain has been shown to decrease the pain and swelling that accompany osteoarthritis, effectively making the condition less painful and improving mobility. Some scientists suggest that the effects of bromelain are comparable to that of NSAIDs — only, it is a lot less dangerous and more natural. Which brings us to our last question…
Is bromelain safe?
According to WebMD, bromelain is safe for MOST people. Consider staying away from this proteolytic enzyme if you:
- Are on a blood thinning medication;
- Are allergic to pineapple and;
- Have scheduled a surgery in the near future.
Mild intestinal discomfort and non-serious side effects such as diarrhea can also accompany the usage of bromelain, but this is relatively rare. For most people, bromelain is completely safe to use, but if you prefer to stay on the safe side, do request the approval of your doctor before purchasing bromelain supplements.