There has been an unusual amount of discussion about this fruit in the box in recent weeks. What started off as a discussion about post WOD nutrition quickly degenerated, as it does, into a baser discussion about how a man might alter his diet in order to obtain more frequent lady favours.
Despite this segue into the lewd and libidinous there is actually a growing body of evidence that pineapple may, in fact, be an untapped resource in the realm of post-workout recovery. For years, athletes have extolled the virtues of the pineapple for assisting recovery, speeding the breakdown of bruises and reducing the impact of DOMs but there is actually some real science to back this folk science and it centres upon an enzyme called bromelain (Say: Bro-meh-lane)
Bromelain is a proteolytic (breaks down proteins) enzyme found within the fruit, stem and leaves of Ananas comosus (pineapple) which shows some promise for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oedema (swelling) and antithrombotic (clotting) properties. As a result of its efficacy when administered orally and its lack of side-effects, bromelain has gained some credibility as a potential phytotherapeutic (using plant extracts for medicinal purposes) drug (Walker, 2002).
Bromelain has demonstrated similar activity to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs) in the reduction of inflammation-causing compounds. It has been shown to reduce the production of plasma kinins (a type of inflammatory compound) in animal studies (Oh-Ishi et al, 1979; cited in Maurer, 2001); to reduce bradykinin (another type of inflammatory compound) at inflammation sites when administered by injection (Kumakura, 1988; cited in Maurer, 2001); to reduce Prostaglandin2 (another type of inflammatory compound) when administered orally and to concordantly raise levels of the anti-inflammatory molecule prostacyclin (Vellini et al, 1986; cited in Maurer, 2001).
Instead of popping some ibuprofen post-WOD consider getting involved with some pineapple. It is very sweet, high in fructose*, vitamin C, vitamin A (as β-carotene) and a host of proteolytic goodness including papain and the aforementioned bromelain as well as substantially increasing the likelihood of your girlfriend being nice to you (this is not true).
Kumakura, S., Yamashita, M., Tsurufuii, S. (1988). Effect of bromelain on kaolin – incluced inflammation in rats. European Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 150, 295–301
Maurer, H.R. (2001). Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, vol. 58, 1234–1245
Oh –Ishi, S., Uchida, Y., Meno, A., Katori, M. (1979). Bromelain, a thiolprotease from pineapple stem, depletes high molecular weight kininogen by activation of Hageman factor. Thrombosis Research, vol.14, 665–672
*Fructose post-WOD is a sensible option where liver and muscle glycogen is likely to have been extensively depleted. For instance, after a long run, row or equivalent or anything lasting up to about 40 minutes or more: post-Kalsu would be an excellent time.