Pineapples are one of the most popular tropical fruit in the world. Originating from South America, they were introduced to Europe in the 17th century. Not only delicious, pineapples are also packed with nutrients such as manganese, vitamin C and fibre. From a nutritional perspective, what really makes pineapple exciting and unique is the high quantity of the enzyme bromelain.
Ever felt your mouth tingle after eating fresh pineapple? That’s due to the high levels of bromelain!
Bromelain is what’s known as a proteolytic digestive enzyme, which means that it helps break down proteins into the amino acid blocks, allowing better absorption. Have you ever bloated after eating a high protein meal such as red meat? Bromelain could help. It’s is one of the most efficient aids for digesting protein, and has been traditionally used for centuries.
Bromelain has other properties too and has been shown to help reduce inflammation and swelling after injury. It also works in partnership with quercetin (found in apples, onions, parsley and sage) and vitamin C for sinus health and as a boost for the immune system. If using for this purpose, it’s best taken on an empty stomach.
Including pineapple regularly in your diet will help although heat and the canning process will destroy the enzymes’ activity, so make sure it’s fresh.
Did you know?
Pineapple is so versatile, used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Here are a couple of my favourite recipes to bring the tropical taste to your kitchen.
Simple Pineapple Salsa (serves 2)
1 red onion
Handful of coriander leaves
Pineapple Rice (serves 2)
This is one of those dishes that instantly brings that holiday feeling even to the dullest days. Coconut and pineapple are made for each other. Serve with zesty chicken or spicy beans.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
150g basmati rice
1 tin of coconut milk
2-3 spring onions
Red pepper flakes ¼ tsp
Small handful fresh coriander