Why Some People Report A “Tingle” In Their Mouths When Eating Pineapple
by Trisha Leigh
Pineapples and humans have a very interesting history together, from the moral issues of colonization and the tricks of shipping it across the ocean, to the odd relationship between the pineapples and the art of inviting (or shooing away) guests.
And it turns out if you look very close at the fruit itself, you’ll see that it really never intended to be eaten in the first place.
One of my favorite fruits is pineapple, but every time I eat them, my mouth tingles. I read that the fruit contains raphides! Kiwis, grapes, taro, and yams also have large amounts of these crystals. These needles serve as a defensive function against insect herbivors to deter them from eating the plant’s fruits and protect the seeds. The needles work with other chemcial substances, like bromelain in the pineapple, to amplify the effects. #microscope #microbiology #underthemicroscope #microscopy #microcosmos #nature #pineapple #crystals #fyp #fypage #fypシ
TikToker @sf_microscopy shows us why when she zooms in on what she calls the “microcosmos” all around us – but too small to see with the naked eye.
“Why do our mouths tingle after eating pineapple? It’s cause we are getting stabbed by thousands of tiny needles called raphides! These crystals of calcium oxalate poke holes in your cell membranes, causing irritation!”
35.7 million people have checked this video out, which seems to be proof that this is pretty much a universal experience.
“Kiwis, grapes, taro, and yams also have large amounts of these crystals. These needles serve as a defensive function against insects (herbivores) to deter them from eating the plant’s fruits and protect the seeds. The needles work with other chemical substances, like bromelain in the pineapple, to amplify the effects.”
As one commenter says, “it bites back.”
Someone else observed, “basically while I’m eating my pineapple, my pineapple is eating me.”
And this person says their mouth “always feels so raw afterward,” so this makes sense.
Fruit company Dole mostly agrees, attributing the prickly sensation to the enzyme bromelain.
“This is one of the substances in pineapple and its function is to break down protein. If pineapple burns the tongue, the enzyme is therefore only ‘doing its job’ – in our mouth. By the way, this slight burning sensation only occurs with unprocessed fruit. Tinned pineapple is definitely ‘tongue-friendly.'”
According to this article published in a 2014 Public Library of Science, the raphides and bromelain work together as a defense mechanism.
There are some ways to counteract the sensation, including soaking the peeled pineapple in salt water, pairing it with a dairy complement like cottage cheese, or grilling the pineapple before eating it.
You might want to give one or more of those a try, since obviously we’re not going to stop eating it any time soon.