There are many anti-inflammatory fruits, vegetables, and spices but my favorite is pineapple! Pineapple is sweet, juicy, and served cold it makes a fine treat or after meal dessert. Pineapple is easy to grow, just cut off the pineapple top about ½ inch down into the pineapple and place in a bowl of water for a day. Put the top into a pot of soil for 3 months, then plant into the ground.

Pineapple is high in vitamin C, manganese, folic acid, B vitamins, and many other important electrolytes. Bromelain is a compound found within the stem and throughout the pineapple. It is found to have several healing effects. Bromelain is a mixture of different enzymes, but is especially used to breakdown protein, as a digestive enzyme, and as a meat tenderizer. Studies have shown that it has anti-inflammatory activities and has been used post surgery and in athletes and arthritics as an alternative to medications that may cause ulcers and other harmful effects. Some of bromelain’s therapeutic benefits have been in the treatment of angina pectoris, bronchitis, and sinusitis (Therapeutic use, efficiency and safety of the proteolytic pineapple enzyme Bromelain-POS in children with acute sinusitis in Germany).

Bromelain also has therapeutic effects in surgical trauma, thrombophlebitis, debridement of wounds, and enhanced absorption of drugs particularly antibiotics. It also relieves osteoarthritis, diarrhea, and various cardiovascular disorders (Efficacy and tolerance of an oral enzyme combination in painful osteoarthritis of the hip. A double-blind, randomised study comparing oral enzymes with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ). Bromelain may have anti-cancer effects because it promotes apoptotic cell death (Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a review). Bromelain will help with digestion, has anti-inflammatory effects, decreases edema, and inhibits blood coagulation (which is important because our blood tends to thicken as we age and have more inflammation). It has also been shown to decrease and inhibit tumors in animal studies (On the pharmacology of bromelain: an update with special regard to animal studies on dose-dependent effects)

Bromelain is also being considered alongside curcumin in the prevention of severe COVID-19 (The combination of bromelain and curcumin as an immune-boosting nutraceutical in the prevention of severe COVID-19). As a cysteine protease, bromelain demonstrates immunomodulatory actions that interfere with the inflammatory, coagulation, and bradykinin cascades in the development of COVID-19. Bromelain’s anti-inflammatory benefits include inhibition of transcription factors, downregulation of proinflammatory mediators, fibrinolytic and anticoagulant activity, inhibition of cyclooxygenase, modulation of prostaglandins and thromboxane, and hydrolyzation of bradykinin. When bromelain is orally administered with curcumin (another compound that may prevent severe COVID-19), it increases the absorption of curcumin and underlines synergistic effects in COVID-19 prevention. Bromelain may also stop the virus from entering cells (The combination of bromelain and curcumin as an immune-boosting nutraceutical in the prevention of severe COVID-19).

Several cultures who grow pineapple use it for stomach aches and digestion. Pineapple may help with gastric reflux (when food comes back up or causes heartburn). Reflux may be caused from lack of stomach acid and protein enzymes as we age. Bromelain can break down meats and other protein foods in the stomach. It is always good to leave room for a bite of pineapple after a meal.

Bromelain, which is also available in tablets, is something I always recommend to patients with pain and inflammation. Eating pineapple after an injury or surgery is always a good choice because it not only decreases the inflammation, but pineapple is rich in vitamin C and manganese which helps to produce collagen and promote healing.

Recipe: Much of the bromelain is found in the stem and core of the pineapple. A great drink recipe is to boil the core of the pineapple with 2 quarts of water for 5 minutes. Let sit for 1 hour and place in the refrigerator. Great to drink with a meal or anytime in between.

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