Pineapple is native to warm climates and contains an enzyme known as bromelain. Pineapple and its extracts have been used clinically as an anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of arthritis, soft tissue injuries, colon inflammation, chronic pain and asthma (Tochi et al., 2008).
Bromelain has also shown protective properties against tumor cell growth (Batkin, 1988). Queensland Institute of Medical Research reported the discovery of two proteins in bromelain that could block the growth of a broad range of tumor cells including breast, lung, colon, ovarian and melanoma. Earlier experiments of feeding mice bromelain made them more resistant to UV rays (Goldstein, 1976).
While bromelain is most present in the stems of pineapple, Hale et al. (2010) set out to see if pineapple juice from the fruit would also act as an anti-inflammatory agent. They found that mice with colon inflammation who were given fresh or unpasteurized frozen pineapple juice decreased their inflammation severity. The mice that drank the juice of the pineapple also had fewer colon lesions.
The anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple appear to be extremely promising. However, the scientific studies related to bromelain and bowel disease are relatively limited. If you are taking anti-inflammatory medication, always consult with your doctor before making any changes.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.