Tempted to turn to the supplement aisle in search of faster healing or reduced inflammation? You may find more reliable relief in the produce aisle, or so suggests some preliminary analyses run in the Dole Nutrition Institute (DNI) Lab.The nutrient in question is bromelain – a natural enzyme derived from pineapple.
Previously, our researchers analyzed pineapple and papaya skin-care products to verify claims of enzymatic activity – and found out that there was more bluffing than buffing going on.Most recently we tested six different bromelain supplements to see how they fared when matched against the real thing – fresh pineapple.
What we found is that fresh and frozen pineapple has at least as much – and in many cases much more – enzyme activity than bromelain supplements.In one case, just one serving (1 cup) had 13 times as much enzymatic activity as the supplement.In other cases, tests revealed much lower levels of enzyme activity than claimed on the supplement bottles (well within their date of expiration).
This is a significant finding as scientists are just beginning to uncover the potential of bromelain’s properties.In addition to research suggesting that bromelain may help alleviate arthritis symptoms and speed wound healing – new preliminary studies point to possible relief from asthma as well as reduced risk of lung and breast cancers.
Bromelain is only one of the many compounds of interest found in pineapple, which also provides an excellent source of vitamin C (helps promote collagen formation and improve iron absorption) and manganese (supports metabolism and bone density).
While it may seem simpler to pop a pill, supplements provide nutrients in isolation vs.the synergistic nutrition we may gain from whole fruits and vegetables.
So, enjoy the bromelain the way Mother Nature intended, from pineapple.For one delicious variation try our recently featured “Curried Sweet Potatoes and Pineapple” recipe.
Bottom Line: Fresh and frozen pineapple provide a superior source of bromelain – both in terms of activity levels as well as a full complement of nutrients (plus, it tastes better).
Published December 12, 2005