Some people avoid eating pineapple owing to the tingling sensation it causes on the tongue, lips, and throat. But, all you need is a simple ingredient that will do the trick and you can enjoy the myriad benefits of this tropical fruit that comes loaded with nutrients, disease-fighting antioxidants, and is known to aid digestion and even speed up recovery post-exercise.
Dr Lily Choi, a New York-based licensed acupuncturist, recently took to Instagram to list the many such reasons this fruit must be added to your diet. “According to traditional Chinese medicine, pineapple is great for the stomach and kidney systems, and helps (with) energy and thirst. I love pineapple because it packs a great deal of health-enhancing vitamins C and B6, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, iron, and more,” said Dr Choi.
Dr Choi, however, added that many avoid the fruit for the tingling feeling it causes in the mouth and the throat, which is caused due to the presence of “bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme which offers many health benefits”. “Ever notice the tingly sensation in your mouth when you eat pineapple? That stems from the bromelain enzyme that lives within pineapple flesh and breaks down proteins when consumed. It reduces inflammation and swelling. It is used to treat conditions like sinusitis, soreness in muscles, osteoarthritis, digestive support, wound healing, and weight loss. Bromelain is also said to repair blood cells and help stabilise blood pressure,” Dr Choi said.
But, can you avoid the sensation?
According to Dr Choi, salt helps inactivate the bromelain enzymes, and even adding a small amount of salt can enhance the fruit’s sweetness making it even more delicious, she said.
How to add salt?
*Cut your pineapple and place it in 1-2 cups of water
*Add in 1 tablespoon of sea salt
*Soak for around one minute and enjoy!
Commenting on the usefulness of this hack, Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, chief clinical dietician, Apollo Hospitals Bangalore mentioned that raw pineapple causes the sensation as the act of breaking down of amino acids and collagen in the mouth can cause itchiness and irritation. “Hence, soaking pineapple in salt water or cooking up to 60 degrees helps,” she added.
The act of soaking also helps reduce the risk of allergies and side effects. “Bromelain might be helpful for people with asthma as it has anti-inflammatory effects, but it may cause side effects like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and heavy menstrual bleeding in some people. Pregnant women should also avoid bromelain as it affects uterus (womb) muscles,” said Vidhi Chawla, dietician and founder, Fisico Diet Clinic.
Besides this, Dr Chawla added that adding salt also balances acidity for those who are prone to it.
Now, wondering how to cut a pineapple at home?
Here’s a step-by-step guide from chef Kunal Kapur.
*Cut off the top (the crown) and base of the fruit.
*Next, keep the pineapple in a vertical position and slice away the outer covering into large strips.
*Repeat the process from all the sides to get rid of the outer skin entirely. “If there are any brown eyes, cut them too,” he said.
*Slit the pineapple from the middle, divide it into chunks, and place them on a chopping board.
*Chop them into bite-sized pieces.
How to pick a ripe pineapple?
Unlike what is believed, pineapple is not a single fruit but a cluster of up to 200 fruitlets which is called a sorosis, said chef Sanjeev Kapoor in his blog while sharing the right way to pick a ripe pineapple.
*While buying a pineapple, always choose a fruit that is heavy for its size. “The only difference between a large and small pineapple is its size, since there is usually no difference in quality,” he noted.
*Remember, the fruit should not have any soft spots, bruises, mould or darkened eyes all of which are signs that the fruit is not fresh. You can also tap a finger against the side of the fruit to judge its freshness, ripeness, and quality. “A ripe pineapple of good quality has a dull, solid sound whereas a poor quality of the fruit will have a hollow thud,” he said.
*It stops ripening once it is picked, so choose a fruit which has a sweet and fragrant smell at the stem end, he said.
*He also shared that ripe pineapples spoil fast at room temperature. “At the same time, they are chill sensitive and cannot be stored in refrigerator for a long time. Hence they should be used up as early as possible,” he mentioned.