Blueberries May Protect From Muscle Damage
For some time now it has been known that blueberries contain powerful antioxidants that yield numerous health benefits. Not only are blueberries a great source of pre-workout fuel, but research published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research indicates that blueberries may significantly reduce the oxidative stress on muscle fibers caused by strenuous or excessive exercise as well as protect from disease. Posing such possible benefits as cholesterol reduction, protection from various forms of cancer, and protection from neurodegenerative diseases is just a few of the reasons why one should include blueberries in their diet.
Although the bioavailability and the dosage of blueberries is uncertain, researchers relate this new finding due to the rich content of polyphenols: potent antioxidants that include phenolic acids, tannins, flavonols, and anthocyanins. Researchers exposed muscle fibers to a variety of concentrations of fruit extracts to see which would yield the best results. The blueberry extract provided the highest amount of protection for the muscle fibers that the researchers believe could be stemmed from certain compounds found within the blueberries.
Occasionally for more intense workout sessions, I will blend mixed berry smoothies (along with my pre-workout whey protein/BCAAs, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and creatine monohydrate) before I head to the gym to provide pre-workout energy while also aiding in muscle recovery. At the time, I knew the berries were a great source of sustained energy to get me through my high-intensity workouts but I was unaware of their ability to protect the muscle cell damage from intense training. Any athlete or gym enthusiast should definitely consider adding blueberries to their repertoire of pre-workout fuel for optimal results as well as other health benefits.
• Daniells, Stephen. “Blueberries May Protect Muscles from Exercise Damage.” NutraIngredients-USA.com. NutraIngredients-USA, 02 Apr. 210. Web. 18 July 2012. <http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Blueberries-may-protect-muscles-from-exercise-damage%20>.
• Howard LR, Clark JR, Brownmiller C. Antioxidant capacity and phenolic content in blueberries as affected by genotype and growing season. J Sci Food Agric 2003; 83 (12) :1238-47.