An ENT Explains Pineapple Tongue Irritation


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One chew of pineapple and my destiny is often sealed: For the subsequent a number of hours, my tongue will really feel like the feel of sandpaper and has a (somewhat uncomfortable) tingly sensation. Regardless of the discomfort, what’s comforting to know is that I’m undoubtedly not alone—tons of oldsters have taken to social media to specific their considerations over the same expertise.

I’ll be frank: Prior to now, I’ve chalked up my pineapple-induced mouth woes to nothing greater than a really delicate 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 potential, 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 foundation reason behind ‘pineapple tongue’ discomfort and one of the simplest ways to keep away from it.

Why pineapple could cause mouth and tongue irritation

Based on Dr. Husain, pineapples comprise an enzyme referred to as bromelain, which is probably going the principle perpetrator 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. This is the reason pineapple generally is a nice meat tenderizer,” Dr. Husain says. Sadly, pineapple could cause the same response within the mouth. “Bromelain additionally breaks down protein discovered within the lining of your mouth, generally known as mucosa,” she provides, which leads to 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 aside from different fruits. (For instance, though papayas additionally comprise bromelain, they’re not as acidic, which is why most received’t expertise the identical tingling sensation as they do with pineapple.)

That stated, there’s no denying that each 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 (at the least not generally). “Don’t fear. The quantity of injury that’s occurring is delicate, and the tissue will already begin therapeutic itself after the consumption of the pineapple. This is the reason more often than not, the feeling is transient,” she says.

“Don’t fear. The quantity of injury that’s occurring is delicate, and the tissue will already begin therapeutic itself after the consumption of the pineapple. This is the reason more often than not, the feeling is transient.”

Nevertheless it’s value noting that though (we reiterate) pineapple allergy symptoms are uncommon, they nonetheless are potential. A pineapple allergy may end up in extra extreme signs like extreme irritation within the mouth, rashes, swelling, or—in extreme circumstances—anaphylaxis, a life-threatening situation that wants pressing medical consideration. In case you imagine you’re experiencing a pineapple allergy, it’s greatest to seek the advice of with a medical skilled on learn how to deal with it.

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How one can forestall 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 would possibly assist mitigate the response. Nevertheless it isn’t foolproof, nor the best or efficient approach 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 also can cut back the irritation brought on by enzymes. Lastly, she says pairing the acidic fruit with dairy-based merchandise, like cream or yogurt, may also 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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