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Burning Question: Why Does Pineapple Irritate Your Mouth?

Yesterday I cut myself some fresh pineapple, then promptly proceeded to eat a lot of it before remembering that every time I eat a copious amount of pineapple, the roof of my mouth becomes itchy and sore. So why is this condition a common complaint among fresh pineapple aficionados?

Pineapples contain a plant protease enzyme called bromelain. Because it readily breaks down protein, bromelain is frequently used as a natural meat tenderizer. In addition, bromelain may also induce a prickly sensation in the mouth when consumed.

Although the enzyme is present in all parts of the pineapple plant, it's most concentrated in the stem, the hard piece in the middle of the fruit, which is much more fibrous and chewy but still edible. Many people believe that letting a pineapple sit overnight helps take away the irritation factor, but one surefire way to alleviate the burn is to cut out the core.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
Megan15327628 Megan15327628 3 years
Many people don't know this, but pineapple eats at your flesh when eating it. That is what causes it hurting, burning, itching, and everything else.
bernerowner bernerowner 8 years
Every time I eat fresh pineapple, my mouth stings and I've always wondered why until I googled it and ended up here. Now I know. I love the fruit but man, it really tears up my tongue!! I also found out on here that this fruit is good to marinate meat in and I'm going to try it one of these days. I also will cut back on eating so much pineapple all at once!
lisas52 lisas52 8 years
I had gone to Hawaii for my honeymoon many moons ago (giggle) when I ate pineapple while out in the islands, I had no problems with it ripping up my mouth like it does here. Seems that I have the same issue with other fruits and the thing is, I just love fruit! Especially when someone else cuts it up! The pineapple in Hawaii is picked when ripe but the pineapple we get in the states is cut prior to it being ripe. Kind of like bananas, often they are still green in the store which is the way they are picked.
summerjams summerjams 8 years
just looking at the pictures gives my mouth tingling feeling, ack.
sparklemeetspop sparklemeetspop 8 years
I wonder if melon has the same thing, because I get that reaction after eating it. And I miss my honeydew and cantaloupe.
ceej ceej 8 years
Pineapple is also an excellent exfoliant, rub the inside of the skin on your own skin, a lot of cultures use it this way.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
Ah. I see. Pineapple is my most fave fruit growing up, hehe, and I always get that sensation on my tongue :) But, it never discourages me from eating it! :D Thanks for the tip.
annissa annissa 8 years
Ohhh! That explains it!
Sofia-Soubrette Sofia-Soubrette 8 years
mMm! PINEAPPLE! I had a pineapple margarita last week and hardly noticed the sting...of the fruit...
kevinstyle kevinstyle 8 years
Pineapple is also good with hot pepper sprinkled on it.
oni1 oni1 8 years
i can barely look at that picture. its like a bowl of razorblades. cooked/canned doesn't affect me as much.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
i love pineapple. i do get the weird tingky feeling on my lips and inside my mouth after eating it but it goes away after a while. :)
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
@ bigestivediscui, that happened to my girlfriend this summer. She's so sad... :( As for the weird pineapple thing, I just figured everyone else was complaining about nothing, because I never experienced it myself.
LesleyP825 LesleyP825 8 years
I get really bad eczema on my hands and when I cut up fresh pineapple my hands break out. I've taken to wearing gloves now.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
that's really good to know. i always wondered what it was and figured that it was just the acid in the fruit.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
This doesn't happen to me with pineapple, but plums, cherries, and even apples (which I all love) make my mouth, throat and lips itch and swell up. I never used to have that when I was little, so I don't know how this has happened. :( Plums used to be my favorite fruit.
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