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Tuesday, 29 May 2012 10:09

Blueberries Accelerate Muscle Recovery: study

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One more reason to eat the super food ‘Blue berries’- they fasten muscle recovery. A recent study found that athletes who eat them recover faster from exercise- reports blueberriesmedicalxpress. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids that helps greatly to combat inflammation. Along with that blue berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists.

Intake of  Blue berries would be great help for the athletes, believe study researchers. “The findings could help Olympians and other athletes return to peak performance faster after strenuous exercise -says Dr. Stannard, head Associate Professor of Massey School of Sport and Exercise, who worked with University colleagues and the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research on the paper. The paper is published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

The researchers used a novel method that compared one leg of a participant to the other leg. “We put the study participants on a Biodex machine and had them work the thigh of one leg very hard to damage the muscle,” Dr Stannard says. “They did 300 maximal eccentric contractions, which causes micro-trauma to the muscle’s fibres.”

In the first part of the study,  ten female participants were involved. Participants were given blueberry smoothies before, during, and for two days after the exercise strength tests, and blood samples were taken to monitor the leg’s recovery. Several weeks later, the exercise was repeated on the other leg, but a smoothie without blueberries, and therefore with different polyphenol content, was consumed instead.

The blood samples showed eating the blueberries, although possessing a similar total antioxidant content as the control, produced a higher level of antioxidant defence in the blood. This was associated with improved rate of recovery in the first 36 hours in one particular measure of muscle performance. 

Researcher’s view 
Dr Stannard says it is not yet clear exactly why the blueberries help. “But it is probably linked to the superior anthocyanin content of the New Zealand blueberry fruit interacting with and assisting the body’s natural antioxidant mechanisms,” he says.
The team used New Zealand blueberries in the study, sourced from Northland. “For me the attraction of this study is that we’re using a real food,” he says. “It’s not a pill or a supplement, its fruit, grown in New Zealand and available at any shop.”

Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Roger Hurst says the study has come about from a building relationship with Massey’s School of Sport and Exercise in which further research on the benefits of blueberries for exercise is being undertaken.
"There is a huge amount of research still to be done. But this work is giving a wonderful indicator and we expect these exciting findings to further boost the desirability of New Zealand blueberries."

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