Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem, and has been studied for its anti-inflammatory activities.
But before you head to the grocery store to add more of it to your diet, know that eating pineapple or drinking its juice doesn’t supply a large enough dose to be effective. Bromelain is mostly concentrated in the pineapple stem.
Native to South and Central America, pineapple has traditionally been used for a number of ailments by a wide number of communities, particularly for gastrointestinal problems. Since being introduced to the rest of the world, pineapple has also become an ingredient in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat similar conditions.
So why should you consider adding bromelain supplements to your health routine? Here are a few good reasons:
1. Bromelain reduces nasal and sinus swelling.
A pilot study also found that bromelain tablets were effective at alleviating swelling, congestion, and other symptoms associated with chronic sinusitis.
If you’ve felt the uncomfortable pressure, pain, and congestion from a sinus infection, you know that anything that might be able to help is a huge deal.
2. Bromelain supports heart health.
A medical abstract reported that bromelain was effective at treating cardiovascular diseases, such as peripheral artery disease, stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Bromelain works by inhibiting blood platelets' abilities to stick or clump together. This may help reduce clot formation and cardiovascular events.
3. Bromelain has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Bromelain has been used as a therapeutic approach in the treatment of chronic inflammatory, malignant, and autoimmune diseases. Bromelain is commonly used to treat acute inflammation and sports injuries. It has also been shown to help with inflammation after surgery, where administration of bromelain before surgery may reduce the average number of days for complete disappearance of pain and post-surgery inflammation.
One animal study indicated that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory effects might be beneficial to people with asthma or other forms of allergic airway disease.
4. Bromelain helps with joint and muscular pain.
A review of clinical studies found that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it an effective treatment for pain, soft-tissue swelling, and joint stiffness associated with osteoarthritis, as well as muscle pain due to overexertion. Bromelain has analgesic properties which are thought to be the result of its direct influence on pain mediators.
5. Bromelain rarely has any side effects.
Bromelain and its potential health benefits have been studied extensively in multiple areas. And, while many cold or sinus medications have a host of unintended health consequences, bromelain has relatively few, even after prolonged use.
Unless you have a history of reacting badly to pineapple (whether an allergic reaction or general stomach upset), the odds are good that you’ll see zero negative effects from taking bromelain supplements. However, you should avoid using bromelain if you take a blood thinner, such as Warfarin, Pradaxa, and others.
6. Bromelain harvesting promotes environmental best practices.
Bromelain isn’t only found in the pineapple fruit. Rather, it exists throughout the pineapple plant, including the stem, leaves, and roots. Because of this, additional pineapple plants do not need to be planted in order to extract the bromelain. The fruit on a pineapple plantation can be harvested for eating. The leaves and stems, which might otherwise go to waste, can then be used for making bromelain supplements. This allows farmers a double harvest, reduces deforestation and land use in delicate ecosystems, and decreases the amount of agricultural waste products produced.
Looking for a good bromelain source?
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