Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Arthur investigates...Pineapple

Tangy, fresh and exotic tasting -  pineapple is the flavour of holiday in a bowl. It's also a great fruit for arthritis.

Pineapple is a rich source of vitamin C and a good source of fibre. It also contains an enzyme known as bromelain. Bromelain helps breakdown protein and explains why pineapple juice has traditionally been used to tenderise meat (like in teriyaki marinade). Moreover, it has some interesting anti-inflammatory properties: several studies show that in doses between about 560-1980mg a day, bromelain is effective in reducing pain in osteoarthritis. Some trials have shown it to be as effective as traditional NSAIDs like diclofenac or ibruprofen. There is also some early evidence to suggest it could help relieve pain in rheumatoid arthritis but I'm not sure there is quite enough data to draw any conclusions yet.

The doses used in the studies are far beyond what you would get in a portion of pineapple - if you are interested in using bromelain for pain relief you might be better off trying a supplement. Nonetheless, a bowl of pineapple is certainly more likely to help than harm arthur. Pineapple can help mouth ulcers, so if your disease modifying drugs like methotrexate leave you with sore patches, it might be worth a try.

Serve fresh pineapple sprinkled with a little chilli or ginger for an added anti-inflammatory boost. For a healthy pina-colada inspired desert, grill slices until just beginning to go golden on each side and then dish up with a squeeze of lime and dusting of coconut.

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