Pineapple: Nature's Most Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

April 15, 2011

Athletes have to deal with injures, unfortunately, quite often. The most common include hip bursitis, pulled hamstring, runner’s knee, shin splints,  ankle sprain, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, arch pain, tennis elbow, wrist injuries, SLAP lesion just to name few.
As far as I’m concerned when I get injured my first reaction is anger followed by a feeling of depression, normally I start to wonder “Why this has to happen to me?”, “I’m always so careful...” and so on.
If the injury is not too severe, and doesn't necessitates the intervention of a doctor, I usually rest for a few days, and maybe pop-up some of the most common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin).
However, as I don't like taking medications, I tend to resort to the most potent anti-inflammatory that mother nature has given us: pineapple.
Let’s discover why pineapple can be considered the best anti-inflammatory medicament.



Pineapples are packed with the enzyme bromelain which plays a major role in the body's healing process.
Bromelain is a natural potent anti-inflammatory that has many health benefits and encourages healing. According to recent researches, bromelain is very effective in treating bruises, sprains and strains by reducing swelling, tenderness and pain. This powerful anti-inflammatory effect can also help relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and reduce postoperative swelling.
In particular, recent studies of Bromelain's anti-inflammatory power have found out that it’s more effective and much better tolerated by patients than Naproxen (Aleve), Piroxicam (Feldene),Ketoprofen (Oruvail), Indomethacin (Indocin), Etodolac (Lodine),Diclofenac (Voltaren).
In a 1995 German study of people with strains and torn ligaments, researchers found that bromelain caused a significant reduction in swelling, tenderness, and pain, both at rest and during movement. Supplementation of bromelain reduced the average number of days after surgery for complete disappearance of pain from 3.5 to 1.5, and disappearance of inflammation from 6.9 to 2.0 days, as compared with controls receiving no bromelain.
Finally, a clinical study of boxers with bruises on the face and hematomas of the orbits, lips, ears, chest and arms reported complete disappearance for 80.6% of those taking Bromelain in 4 days vs. only 13.8% of those in the placebo group.
Bromelin is available in some countries (not in the United States though) as a product under the name 'Ananase', sold as an over the counter anti-inflammatory drug.


Vitamin C

Pineapples are also packed with vitamin C, a commonly known antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage and boosts the immune system. Among other positive effects on the body, vitamin C helps build and repair bodily tissue and promotes wound healing.
The body also uses vitamin C to help metabolize fats and cholesterol, absorb iron, and synthesize amino acids and collagen. Collagen is one of the primary building blocks of skin, cartilage and bones. Vitamin C also decreases the severity of colds and infections.


Getting injured is probably the most unfortunate things that can happen to an athlete, especially if that happens fairly close to a race day (actually, this has happened countless times to me).
If the injury is not too severe, the best thing to do is to rest the injured body part until finally healed.
If you want a natural way to enhance your body's healing mechanisms, promote overall good health and tantalize your taste buds, pineapples are the way to go.
If you’re concerned with calories and sugars, be rested, one cup of pineapple has only 82 calories and 16 grams of sugars: not too bad for being such a tasty fruit!
Finally, choose the fresh fruit because it has the most healing properties. Unfortunately, most of the bromelain in canned pineapple is destroyed due to the heat used in the canning process.