Love a fresh and juicy pineapple during the warm weather months? Not only is it a delicious treat, but it also contains an incredible series of enzymes called bromelain that have a wide variety of purported health benefits, affecting everything from your joints to your heart. While bromelain is present in pineapple, it’s most effective in supplement form, so here’s what you need to know.
What is bromelain?
Bromelain is an enzyme mixture that comes from the stem, fruit, and juice of pineapple plants. Communities across Central and South America have used it to treat a variety of medical problems for centuries.
It has a number of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that studies show can help with preventing and managing symptoms of osteoarthritis, like soft-tissue swelling and and joint stiffness. Research also backs bromelain’s potential heart health benefits, as it’s able to treat cardiovascular issues like stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. This is thanks to its ability to prevent blood clotting. And while scientists are still conducting more work on the subject, early studies show these enzymes promote healthy cell growth and keep “bad” cells from turning cancerous and becoming malignant.
Lastly, bromelain is commonly used in skin serums and creams to aid in cell growth and regeneration, especially for people with second- or third-degree burns.
What are its side effects?
Most people don’t have any side effects when taking bromelain, though some experience gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea. Scientists are still trying to pinpoint the maximum daily dosages for bromelain, but so far there were no reported side effects when taking up to roughly 500 milligrams per day. But if you’re allergic to pineapple, celery, carrot, fennel, cypress pollen, or grass pollen, health experts caution that you may want to also stay away from it.
How should you take it?
Bromelain works best in a concentrated form, as opposed to just trying to eat endless pineapple slices and juice (as delicious as that would be!). You can take oral supplements (Buy on Amazon, $16.84) for bone and heart benefits, as well as use topical products to treat aches and pains, like Naturally Complete MSM Gel (Buy on Amazon, $39.98), or skincare products to buff and brighten skin, like One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub + Mask (Buy on Skin Damsel, $39.00). As with any new addition to your regimen though, make sure you talk to your doctor first!