Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More About Pineapples

Recently a friend emailed to tell me that he ate a small pineapple (about 2 oranges worth) to see what effect that would have on his arthritis. Although it seemed to relieve the arthritis pain, it also caused painful sores in his mouth. He also reported that he had gone to bed and woke up 3 hours later with a stuffy nose and the pain had returned. So, a little research was conducted to find out why that happened regarding the mouth sores.

Here is what I found out about pineapple:

The biodiversityexplorer tell us that the pineapple originates from South America (Brazil, in particular I read) and is a cultigen species produced in prehistorical times by South American Indians through hybridisation of two wild species and selection for beneficial traits of fruit size and quality. They contain protein-digesting enzymes called bromelains, so that if you add fresh pineapple to jelly, it will not set, and pineapple added to marinades will help tenderise meat.

According to howstuffworks, in the 1890's, researchers began isolating and studying bromelain, a natural mixture of two preteases (protein-digesting enzymes) found in pineapples. The discovered that bromelain is quite effective at dividing proteins such as the collagen in steak, as well as in your tongue. Powdered bromelain is used for tenderizing meat, as well as treating inflammation, swelling, indigestion and excessive blood clotting. The enzyme bromelain is neutralized by heat of about 158 degrees Fahrenheit, so they stop working when cooked. The process of tenderizing your tongue when you eat the raw fresh fruit is the same as in the steak - the bromelain begins to separate the peptide bonds that build amino acids into proteins. Your tongue regenerates these cells, so you won't be left with permanent damage to your tongue. Once you've consumed the pineapple, your body begins metabolizing it and soon renders it harmless.

Other websites echoed what is written above and also, if you like pineapple in your jello you have to use the canned stuff because the fresh pineapple with not allow it to set because it eats the proteins (Jello is made of animal protein - so just like it breaks down the protein in your steak, it also breaks down -digests- the protein in the jello).

So, we have learned:
A. Excessive eating of a pineapple is not good for your mouth, but you will survive. (Everything in moderation is my motto!)

B. The bromelain will not gnaw on your innerds because your body's metabolism will render it harmless.

C. Pineapple (bromelain) will help ease the pain of arthritis.

D. You can't make Jello with fresh pineapple.

E. Canned or processed pineapple doesn't have any bromelain in it because the heat needed for proper processing will have killed the enzyme... so if you're going for pain relief, that won't do it for you.

F. Fresh raw pineapple will tenderize meat, like a steak. (But don't leave it in a pineapple marinade overnight or your steak will probably have too much of it's proteins broken down and be mushy. Incidentally, lemon juice or Italian salad dressing will also tenderize your steak).

I have had no problems with the juices I've made, which are primarily pineapple, including the core and pulp, but they are juices so they aren't in my mouth long enough to tenderize my tongue and gums. Living painless or near painless just from one glass of juice every day has been great!

If you have any concerns about your ability to metabolize bromelain or the safety of pineapple, talk to a doctor, dietitian or other authority about it before you start eating megatons of the fruit. You might do better with the supplements instead of the raw fruit.

Also, I checked Dole's website and found no mention about the problems one can encounter eating too much pineapple... like the canker type sores my friend encountered. They have not answered my email as of right now either.

Next - I'll discuss The Mighty and Often Misunderstood Coconut!

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