Don’t fear the pineapple.

Long recognized as a symbol of hospitality, this sweet yellow delight does not always play the role of a good houseguest in the mouth.

For some, the act of eating fresh pineapple causes a burning sensation to the mouth, lips and tongue. A recent report by Rose Gerber for SpoonUniversity.com shed some light on the subject.

According to Gerber:

“Pineapple is the only food known to contain bromelain, an enzyme that digests protein. The truth is, pineapple hurts to eat because bromelain is digesting the tender skin inside of your mouth.

Bromelain is most concentrated in the core (or stem) of the pineapple. When isolated, it is commonly used as a meat tenderizer (your tongue = meat). In supplement form, it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.”

Right about now you’re probably questioning this blog’s headline. Bear with us; fresh pineapple lovers still have options:

  1. Deal with some discomfort and possibly reap health benefits. Savor the deliciousness and reap health benefits while knowing that your mouth will recover quickly – in some cases overnight. According to LiveStrong.com, pineapple is rich in a number of nutrients. For instance, a one-cup serving of fresh pineapple chunks contains 21 milligrams of calcium (promotes bone health), 180 milligrams of potassium (may help improve blood pressure) and 78 milligrams of vitamin C  (can protect your cells from damage by free radicals). Also, the bromelain in the pineapple may act as an anti-inflammatory in the body, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
  2. Demonstrate your skills with a knife. The website Popsugar.com suggests removing the core of the pineapple (bromelain is concentrated in the stem) to minimize the effects of the enzyme in your mouth.
  3. Fire up the grill. Any type of heat will work to help deactivate the enzymes, but nothing says summer like grilled goodness. To keep it simple and low calorie, see Skinnytaste.com or add some healthy fats – salmon and avocado – with this FoodNetwork recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/grilled-salmon-and-pineapple-with-avocado-dressing.html

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