Pineapple and steak - odd couple or perfect match?


Foods contain more than just nutrients. There are also enzymes present in some foods that help our bodies to digest certain substrates.

Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps the body to digest protein (called proteases). Other food sources of proteases include papaya (contains papain), an enzyme that is literally used to soften meat, and organ meats such as liver, heart, stomach and intestines that can also help digestive issues.

If you're eating a delicious, juicy steak, a side of fresh pineapple slices is a good idea if your digestive system needs a little love. Even better, if you're building calories to increase a caloric surplus, a cup of pineapple contributes about 21 grams of carbs from mainly sugars and only about 2 g of fibre. So, not only is it going to help your digestion handle all that food you're eating, it's also going to bump up your fast acting carbs, too.

Still not sold? That 1 cup of fresh pineapple also contains 79 mg of vitamin C, a nutrient that plays a big role in reducing inflammation and supporting proper adrenal and immune function. If you're pushing your body day after day, vitamin C is essential in your line of defence. Pineapple is an excellent addition to your arsenal of nutrient dense foods to defend against systemic inflammation, chronic stress and a vulnerable immune system.

This all applies to the real thing. You'll find the most nutrients in fresh pineapple, not the canned stuff or heated slices. You can have too much of a good thing, though. Bromelain is present in all of the fruit, but it's concentrated in the core. (If you are keen to literally feel the bromelain attempting to break down the proteins that make up your tongue, lips and cheeks, try it.) To obtain all of the digestive and antioxidant benefits but none of the mouth tingling, stick to the fruit around the core and discard the tough centre.