Arthritis is a musculoskeletal disease which affects the joints. In this disease, the joints stop functioning properly because of pain, swelling, and stiffness.
There is also a change in the structure of the bones. This makes a person unable to perform daily tasks and causes a lot of inconvenience.
There are many different causes of arthritis and this disease usually occurs when different factors act up together. Some of the environmental factors that lead to arthritis are injuries, infections, smoking, and stressful occupations.
Genetics and lifestyle factors play important roles in the progression of arthritis. This disease can occur suddenly and at any age.
The symptoms of arthritis are swelling, stiffness in the joints, fatigue, tiredness, loss of appetite and loss of weight, skin rashes, fever, and feeling of being unwell. Generally most people get these feelings from time to time, so if these symptoms stay for long then it is important to get checked from the doctor.
There is no specific cure for arthritis. Many different types of treatments are available. People usually opt for medications like painkillers (aspirin) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which reduce joint stiffness and swelling.
Other therapies like hydrotherapy (exercise in warm water pool) and physiotherapy and surgery are also available to improve the joint structure and function.
Apart from drugs, therapies, and surgery, fruits are also beneficial in treating various disorders. Pineapple is a great source of nutrients which helps in curing various diseases involving inflammation and indigestion.
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What are the health benefits of pineapple?
Pineapple is a very healthy and nutritious fruit which provides the body with numerous micronutrients. It is a low-calorie fruit as a cup of pineapple chunks contains only 80 calories no fat, and 1 gram of protein. It is full of essential compounds, minerals, vitamins that promote health.
It is thought that pineapples originated in South America; however they were first discovered by the Europeans. After that, Spanish and Portuguese introduced pineapples in Asian and African countries.
Pineapple is a very useful fruit because firstly it adds sweetness to your food and secondly it contains Bromelain.
Bromelain is an enzyme that helps in the digestion of food by breaking down the food to reduce a feeling of heaviness and bloating. Therefore specialists recommend pineapple after meals.
Pineapple has many medicinal benefits like it improves the respiratory system and prevents the occurrence of lung disorders, cures microbial and bacterial infections like cough and cold, improves the process of digestion, helps in losing weight, reduces inflammation, prevents cancer and heart diseases, strengthen bones, improves immune system, and enhances blood circulation.
Surprisingly, pineapple is also great for skin and hair. It acts as an exfoliating agent and smoothens and brightens skin tone. It is also rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, copper, zinc, and folate. These compounds help in increasing the fertility for both men and women.
3 Benefits of Pineapple/Bromelain In Arthritis
Pineapple has an enzyme bromelain which acts against substances that increase the progression of arthritis. It is beneficial for reducing the symptoms of arthritis.
1. Bromelain in pineapple acts as an anti-inflammatory agent
Pineapple gets its anti-inflammatory properties because of the presence of the enzyme bromelain. A study was published by Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences in which the mechanism by which bromelain exhibits its anti-inflammatory action was studied extensively.
Bromelain is able to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties because it exhibits various actions. Firstly, it increases the fibrinolytic activity. This means that it increases the breakdown of clots and improves the healing of wounds.
Wounds like leg and foot ulcers are symptoms of arthritis, so this increase in the fibrinolytic activity helps in healing the wounds faster.
People with arthritis experience damage in the tissues and inflammation. Whenever there is an inflammatory disease, the fibrin (a protein) gets deposited at the damage site which leads to the progression of the disease and pain.
Bromelain also reduces the level of bradykinin and prostaglandins which are inflammatory mediators. This reduces the joint pain and swelling and prevents the progression of arthritis. It portrays all these actions by modulation proteins that are located on the surface of the cells because these proteins play a role in the development of arthritis.
What does this mean?
Bromelain in pineapple is effective in treating arthritis by reducing joint pain and inflammation. It has the ability to act against various inflammatory mediators and decrease pain and swelling.
2. It has antioxidant property
An increase in the oxidative stress leads to tissue damage which in turn causes inflammation. Hence to prevent the progression of arthritis, it is important to have compounds in the body which balance the oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Pineapple has abundant vitamin C which imparts anti-oxidant properties and reduces inflammation in arthritis.
Pineapple is also abundant in phenolic compounds. Phenols are chemical compounds that have antioxidant properties and treat arthritis. Hence the more phenolic compounds a pineapple will have, the better antioxidant effects it will present.
What does this mean?
This means that pineapple is effective in decreasing the oxidative stress and hence reducing pain and swelling. This reduction in oxidative stress is because of the presence of vitamin C and phenols in pineapple.
3. It is effective in reducing pain
A study published in Phytomedicine in 2002 investigated the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of bromelain.
At the end of the study period, it was seen that bromelain has a positive effect in reducing the acute knee pain, swelling, and stiffness. It also improved the function of the joints which enhanced the overall physical and psychological well-being of the patients.
In another study published by Majeeb and Borole in the International Journal of Medical and Health Sciences in 2015 evaluated the anti-inflammatory effects of pineapple juice in arthritis in animal models.
In the control group, there was no reduction in swelling whereas in the treatment group that was given pineapple juice, a significant reduction in swelling was observed.
What does this mean?
Bromelain found in pineapple is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and helps in reducing pain in arthritis. It can be used as a dietary supplement and replace the other anti-inflammatory drugs.
Dosage of Bromelain For Arthritis
Bromelain is present in pineapple; however the dose is not high enough for it to act as a medicine. Hence it is important to take bromelain capsules or tablets that provide the proper dose of bromelain.
It is healthy to have 2 slices of pineapple per day to prevent joint pains.
The German Commission E has recommended 80 to 320 mg, 2 to 3 times a day. However for specific conditions, higher doses may be taken. For arthritis, 500 to 2000 mg a day of bromelain should be taken in 2 divided doses.
It is necessary to take bromelain under the supervision of a doctor because it can interfere with other medications. It should not be consumed by a child as no safety test has been conducted yet.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take bromelain as it is not safe for the child.
Common side effects of bromelain include :-
- an excess of menstrual bleeding
There are certain medications with which bromelain interferes . Those are:-
- Antibiotics: Bromelain can increase the uptake of antibiotics by the body. Hence a doctor should be consulted.
- Blood thinning medicines: Bromelain can increase blood-clotting. Hence when it is taken with blood thinners, it can lead to bleeding.
- Sedatives: Bromelain can enhance the effects of sedatives and cause more harm than good.
Dietary inclusion of pineapple is great. 1-2 cups of pineapple juice every day can help in protecting joint health.
Pineapple is a fruit which contains many nutrients beneficial for the body. It contains vitamin C which boosts the immune system and also provides many anti-oxidant properties.
This helps in prevents tissue damage and inflammation.
The main nutritional component of pineapple is bromelain. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce joint swelling, pain, and stiffness. These effects improve the quality of lives of the people suffering from arthritis.