Health Benefits of Pineapple and Bromelain
In addition to being downright delicious, pineapple is one of the most incredible foods you can add to your acid reflux diet plan.
Below, you are going to discover some of the hidden health benefits of pineapple and find out why it is one of the best heartburn remedies for some heartburn sufferers.
Pineapple – A Tropical Fruit With a Powerful Enzyme
Pineapple has high concentrations of a specific enzyme (enzymes are catalysts that make reactions easier to happen) known as bromelain. Bromelain, in particular, belongs to a class of enzymes known as proteases. Hang with me for a second, because it will all be clear below.
Proteases such as bromelain have the specific ability to make protein easier to digest. This has two benefits for people suffering from heartburn (and any other digestive problem).
The first health benefit of pineapple (and bromelain) is that improvements indigestion are correlated with improvements in acid reflux. Bromelain and pineapple will allow you to digest your food better, which in turn means you will be a little (or a lot, depending on the person) to get acid reflux.
The Second Surprising Benefit of Pineapple
The second benefit of pineapple is specific to people who use any acid-reducer or buffer, such as a proton-pump inhibitor, H2 blocker, or simple antacid. These drugs are often designed to bring the pH of the stomach up to a four or higher.
While bringing the pH of the stomach up reduces heartburn symptoms, it also has an unintended side effect. Pepsin, a human enzyme responsible for expediting protein digestion and breakdown, is dependent upon low pH levels to be active hence. At the same time, acid reflux improves as we raise the pH of the stomach, our abilities to digest food decrease.
The deactivation is the primary mechanism why acid reflux medications have a stomach ache, sour stomach, and constipation.
So where does pineapple fit into all of this? Bromelain is a protease which helps break down protein. While not a complete replacement for pepsin, it may help improve protein digestion, which is likely impaired via the use of acid-reducers.
Other Health Benefits of Pineapple
While unrelated to heartburn, another reported benefit of pineapple and bromelain is that bromelain acts as an anti-inflammatory. A recent study has said that there is a physiological basis for this, and bromelain may indeed reduce inflammation (1).
This, of course, is not a preponderance of the evidence, so take it with a grain of salt. Different things affect different people differently, so you will have to see just how it works for yourself.
Be sure to stick to fresh or frozen pineapple; avoid canned, jarred, dried, or cooked fruit as bromelain may be destroyed in the heating process, and the added sugar in these preparation methods makes them unhealthy and removes any potential health benefit (sugar leads to poor digestion and promotes inflammation).
Health Benefits of Pineapple and Its Effect on Heartburn Conclusion
There is decent evidence that pineapple and bromelain may improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and help reduce acid reflux. Many different people swear that adding fresh pineapple or bromelain supplements (which are available online for a low price) to their protein-rich meals significantly reduces acid reflux and improves their digestion.
Of course, if you are allergic to pineapple, you do not want to add this to your diet or take a bromelain supplement with your biggest meal of the day.
While most people will be safe eating adding quantities of fresh pineapple (avoid the canned stuff – the added sugar makes it worthless), check with your doctor before starting a bromelain supplement as some people may be sensitive to high levels of this enzyme, particularly those with other chronic conditions such as heart disease or those that take other medications.
1. Fitzhugh DJ, Shan S, Dewhirst MW, Hale LP. Bromelain treatment decreases neutrophil migration to sites of inflammation. Clin Immunol. 2008 Jul;128(1):66-74