Pineapples and fertility – you wouldn’t automatically put the two together, would you?
But the pineapple has a long association with fertility and is frequently used as the symbol of trying to conceive, which is why we love our own gorgeous handpainted pineapples from the lovely Baby Prints Cheltenham as well as the #ivfstrongertogether pineapple badges from IVF Babble.
Just simply having something tangible to hold onto as you’re on your fertility journey, to remind you of how far you’ve come; to remind you to not lose hope; and to remind you that you have support. And to make sure you don’t forget that you are a fertility warrior!
In the worldwide, online community, it is also all about togetherness and friendship. Something you’ll feel if you’re part of the TTC community across social media.
So what are the associations between what is effectively a lovely fruit to drink a cocktail from on holiday and something delicious to have in a fruit salad?
It’s all to do with a substance called Bromelain.
What is Bromelain?
Bromelain is an enzyme that is found in pineapples (especially the core). This specific enzyme helps our bodies to break down and digest our food. And if we eat this on an empty stomach, it is also said to act as an anti-coagulant (a blood thinner), a pain-reliever and an anti-inflammatory substance. It has been known as ‘nature’s aspirin’. The blood thinning and anti-inflammatory actions may help the embryo implant safely into your uterus.
I’m not sure about the old saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ but a pineapple a day might be worth a go!
Is there any scientific evidence for this?
Officially and in all honesty, probably not yet, although it’s been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many years. And it’s still an important symbol in the TTC community.
However, the anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties of Bromelain are very important in fertility. Anti-coagulants (blood thinners) will help blood flow to the uterus, possibly helping prevent ‘sticky blood’ which would affect this blood flow and therefore implantation. So theoretically, it works in the same way as baby aspirin for increasing blood flow to the uterus and possibly helping to prevent miscarriages affected by ‘sticky blood’ issues. (But how much you’d have to eat is still up for debate, although a slice or two per day from ovulation onwards is a good amount to aim for.)
Reducing inflammation is always important as inflammatory, auto-immune conditions may also affect implantation chances.
“Conception and implantation require an intricate shift in the immune system, specifically a shift from TH1 immune cells to TH2. Basically, this means conception requires an anti-inflammatory shift. It is possible that bromelain helps with this shift which allows implantation to occur…” states Elise Schroeder, Naturopathic Doctor.
And it’s packed full of vitamins and nutrients too (although quite high in natural fruit sugars) so it’s going to be better than chocolate!
To really get the goodness, try cutting the core into chunks or chopping it up and adding it to a smoothie.
Some sources (could click through to this link (https://seasidesundays.com/pineapple-and-fertility/) suggest consuming bromelain/pineapple at key points during your menstrual cycle to help increase the blood flow to your uterus and therefore improve your chances of a successful implantation. Although we also know that there is a lot more to successful implantation than eating pineapple in the stage of your cycle from ovulation onwards and all the way up until a positive pregnancy test, every little may help!
(NB. It’s not recommended that pregnant women consume a lot of pineapple, again, due to the blood thinning properties.)