Why Does My Mouth Feel Like "Tiny Knives" Are Stabbing It After Eating Pineapples?

Hate that pokey feeling but love pineapples. :(

Cover image via Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels & Ylanite Koppens/Pexels

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Ever felt that tingly sensation when you eat pineapples?

It often feels like a thousand tiny knives are stabbing your tongue all at once.

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That sensation is actually caused by an enzyme called bromelain

Bromelain is a mixture of proteolytic enzymes, which means it can break down proteins.

Pineapples naturally contain bromelain, primarily in the stem and core of the fruit.

When you eat pineapple, bromelain can start to break down proteins in your mouth, including the protective layer on the surface of your tongue and the inner lining of your cheeks.

This process may lead to a tingling or burning sensation for some people.

The term "tiny knives" is often used metaphorically to describe how enzymes like bromelain work on a molecular level

The enzymes essentially act as catalysts, accelerating the breakdown of proteins into smaller components during digestion.

So, while it's not literally tiny knives, the idea conveys the enzyme's ability to cut or break down protein molecules into smaller fragments, facilitating the digestive process.

Image via Any Lane/Pexels

If the tingling sensation is uncomfortable for you, you can try the following:

1. Choose ripe pineapples: Bromelain content tends to be higher in unripe pineapples. Ripe pineapples are generally less likely to cause intense tingling.

2. Cook the pineapple: Bromelain is sensitive to heat, so cooking pineapple can reduce its activity. Grilling, baking, or heating pineapple in other dishes may help minimise the tingling effect.

3. Limit consumption: If you experience discomfort, try consuming smaller amounts of pineapple at a time to see if that reduces the tingling sensation.

It's worth noting that canned or processed pineapple may have reduced bromelain activity due to the heat involved in the canning process.

If the tingling sensation persists or is severe, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any potential allergies or sensitivities.

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