Last week we looked at pineapple and the nutritional differences between canned and fresh and mentioned that bromelain was only present in fresh pineapple. But what is bromelain?
• Bromelain is an enzyme mixture that breaks down proteins.
• Pineapple is the only natural food source of bromelain. Amounts are highest in the stem.
• It’s also available as a supplement and can be taken orally or used topically.
• Bromelain is typically taken for a short period of time to promote healing after surgery or trauma.
• It has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and bruising. It's helpful in breaking up scar tissue as well.
• Pineapple can be used as a powder or in marinades to tenderize meat, but don’t marinate for more than a day, as the bromelain’s ability to break down proteins is strong and will turn the meat to mush if left for too long. Several hours is ideal.
• This breakdown of proteins is why your mouth feels scorched after eating pineapple. The bromelain is destroying the tender insides of your mouth! The difference is your mouth’s cells regenerate, while a marinating cut of meat won’t regenerate.
• Temperatures of 150 degrees or more neutralize bromelain, stopping the tenderizing process.