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Why drinking water tickles the tongue after eating pineapple?
It’s the one-two punch of bromelain and acid that really drives the stinging sensation home.
Pineapple contains bromelain, a mixture of two protein-digesting enzymes (called proteases), a corrosive chemical that breaks down amino acids (that’s why pineapple is an effective and delicious meat tenderizer).
When you eat pineapple, bromelain does this same protein degradation on your mouth. But don’t freak out just yet: Your body begins to regenerate any damaged cells, preventing any permanent loss. Because the bromelain dissolves the protective mucous that coats your tongue and the roof of your mouth, the acidity of the pineapple is particularly irritating. It’s the one-two punch of bromelain and acid that really drives the stinging sensation home.
Does salt water render the bromelain ineffective?
If your tongue is still a burning fire, there’s hope yet: Cooking the pineapple (grill it, roast it, or even blanch it) can remove most of the enzymes. Or pair the fruit with a creamy dairy product (yogurt, ice cream, crème fraîche). Not only will this taste very good, but it will also give the bromelain another protein to digest and help neutralize the pH.
So go forth and eat as much pineapple as your little heart desires, fearlessly.