People Shocked to Learn Why Pineapples Make Their Mouths Tingle

source: Flickr

Pineapple has always sat at the top of my list of favorite fruits. Its tangy sweetness is a rare treat for me, but whenever I indulge, it’s an absolute delight. My children, however, disagree. They steer clear of pineapples, and the reason might surprise you as much as it did me. They can’t stand the odd tingling sensation it leaves in their mouths. Yes, that peculiar, somewhat unsettling feeling. I’ve got to admit, it’s a bit weird, and it certainly piqued my curiosity. Why does our mouth feel like it’s hosting a tiny, fizzy party every time we eat pineapples? What’s happening to our tongues?

source: Pexels

I didn’t have to search far for answers. One lazy evening, as I was scrolling through TikTok, I stumbled upon a revelation. A TikTok video posted by SF Microscopy caught my eye, promising the explanation I’d been seeking. It turns out, I wasn’t alone in my quest for answers. The video, which detailed their microscopic examination of pineapple chunks, was an eye-opener. And WOW! The cause of our discomfort? We’re essentially getting pricked by thousands of tiny “raphides.”


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

♬ Sunshine – WIRA

Raphides are minuscule, needle-like crystals composed of calcium oxalate. These ‘little needles’ stab at the mouth, causing that all-too-familiar weird, irritated sensation. A fascinating aspect of raphides and their role in plant defense mechanisms emerged from this revelation. When a plant is damaged, it’s believed that the sap or saliva triggers these needles to expel, poking the predator’s (in this case, us humans) oral cavity and causing irritation. This TikTok video, with its millions of views, made it clear that many were as clueless and subsequently shocked by this fact as I was. All this time, the discomfort we felt was due to these microscopic attackers.

source: Pexels

The response to this revelation was mixed, with many users expressing disbelief and vowing to abstain from eating pineapples henceforth. It was quite amusing to see these comments, ranging from shock to outright refusal to ever touch the fruit again. Some had always suspected that the pain had a bizarre explanation, given the unique discomfort it caused. The collective freak-out on social media was, to be honest, entertaining.

But now, armed with this information, how could I possibly break the news to my children? I could already imagine their horrified faces, their staunch refusal to even be in the same room as a pineapple. They, who are already not fans of the fruit, would now have a legitimate reason to avoid it like the plague.

source: Pexels

Plants have evolved in such fascinating ways to protect themselves from harm, and in this case, pineapples deploy a microscopic defense mechanism that’s both effective and, admittedly, a bit off-putting. The realization that nature is equipped with such intricate defense systems, invisible to the naked eye but impactful in their effects, is truly astonishing.

I’ve also noticed that the tingling sensation varies. Sometimes it’s almost negligible, and other times, it’s distinctly uncomfortable. It’s interesting to consider how the concentration of raphides might differ from one pineapple to another or how individual sensitivities might influence the intensity of the reaction.

source: Flickr

In a way, learning about raphides has deepened my appreciation for pineapples. This means that even the most delightful fruits come with their quirks and complexities. So, despite the potential for a tingling mouth, I’ll continue to enjoy pineapples, albeit with a newfound respect for their defensive capabilities.

As for convincing my kids to give pineapples another chance? That might be a tougher challenge than understanding the science behind raphides. Maybe one day, they’ll see past the tingles and appreciate the fruit for its unique flavor and fascinating biology. Until then, I’ll happily eat my pineapple by myself, amazed at how nature keeps teaching us new and surprising things.