An ENT Explains Pineapple Tongue Irritation

One chunk of pineapple and my destiny is normally sealed: For the subsequent a number of hours, my tongue will really feel like the feel of sandpaper and has a (slightly uncomfortable) tingly sensation. Regardless of the discomfort, what’s comforting to know is that I’m positively not alone—tons of oldsters have taken to social media to precise their issues over an analogous expertise.

I’ll be frank: Previously, I’ve chalked up my pineapple-induced mouth woes to nothing greater than a really gentle allergy of some type (since my signs clear up on their very own after some time). Nonetheless, Inna A. Husain, MD, the medical director of laryngology at Neighborhood Hospital in Munster, Indiana, says an allergy is probably going not the case.

Whereas pineapple allergy symptoms are attainable, they’re  extraordinarily uncommon. So, why accomplish that many individuals expertise discomfort when noshing on this tropical fruit? Dr. Husain explains it’s easy: Enzymes. Forward we uncover the basis reason behind ‘pineapple tongue’ discomfort and one of the best ways to keep away from it.

Why pineapple could cause mouth and tongue irritation

In response to Dr. Husain, pineapples comprise an enzyme known as bromelain, which is probably going the primary wrongdoer behind most pineapple-related mouth and tongue irritation. “Bromelain is a mixture of two proteases. For context, a protease is a particular kind of enzyme that breaks down protein. Because of this pineapple could be a nice meat tenderizer,” Dr. Husain says. Sadly, pineapple could cause an analogous response within the mouth. “Bromelain additionally breaks down protein discovered within the lining of your mouth, often known as mucosa,” she provides, which ends up in the irritation so many people typically expertise.

However that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Along with the bromelain, Dr. Husain factors out that pineapples are additionally naturally acidic, which might additional exacerbate irritation. “Pineapple is acidic, so the thought is that the bromelain breaks down the mucosal barrier, which causes the acid in pineapple to be extra irritating,” she says. Dr. Husain says the mixture of the 2 is what units pineapple other than different fruits. (For instance, though papayas additionally comprise bromelain, they’re not as acidic, which is why most gained’t expertise the identical tingling sensation as they do with pineapple.)

That stated, there’s no denying that every one this speak about bromelain-induced burning or itchiness within the mouth and throat can sound exceptionally alarming. Nonetheless, Dr. Husain reassures us that it isn’t an excessive amount of trigger for concern (a minimum of not usually). “Don’t fear. The quantity of harm that’s taking place is gentle, and the tissue will already begin therapeutic itself after the consumption of the pineapple. Because of this more often than not, the feeling is transient,” she says.

“Don’t fear. The quantity of harm that’s taking place is gentle, and the tissue will already begin therapeutic itself after the consumption of the pineapple. Because of this more often than not, the feeling is transient.”

However it’s price noting that though (we reiterate) pineapple allergy symptoms are uncommon, they nonetheless are attainable. A pineapple allergy can lead to extra extreme signs like extreme irritation within the mouth, rashes, swelling, or—in extreme instances—anaphylaxis, a life-threatening situation that wants pressing medical consideration. If you happen to imagine you’re experiencing a pineapple allergy, it’s finest to seek the advice of with a medical skilled on methods to deal with it.

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Learn how to stop pineapple tongue irritation

Though there’s no avoiding bromelain in pineapples, Dr. Husain factors out that the best focus of the enzyme is discovered within the stem of the pineapple. As such, steering away from consuming the stems may assist mitigate the response. However it isn’t foolproof, nor the best or efficient option to keep away from pineapple-induced irritation.

Dr. Husain recommends rubbing salt on pineapple or soaking it in salt water (and rinsing earlier than consumption). Cooking pineapple can even cut back the irritation brought on by enzymes. Lastly, she says pairing the acidic fruit with dairy-based merchandise, like cream or yogurt, may help neutralize the acid. Pineapples are formally again on the menu!

Anybody up for a dairy-free pineapple ginger Dole Whip dessert:

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