A recent study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that eating blueberries can accelerate muscle recovery after strength training exercise. The study found a faster recovery rate in the intervention group when they consumed a blueberry smoothie before and after exercise. The placebo group was given an antioxidant supplement. The group of athletes consuming the blueberry smoothies showed a faster rate of decreased oxidative stress on the body.
I’m excited to share this information with FM readers for multiple reasons. One, is that this study goes to show that a food you might not directly associate with fitness has been found to directly affect exercise recovery. Efficient recovery is important because the quicker we recover, the quicker we can practice/train/workout at a high intensity. The more often we do this, the quicker our improvement in our craft. You might not know exactly what foods help you reach the goals you have. However, what we do know (and continue to find out) is that different fruits and vegetables help us meet many fitness goals we have, whether we know it or not!
This is also a great study because it shows that when looking for nutrients, it’s always better to get them through real food, rather than through supplements. If you’re looking for more vitamin c, eat fruits and vegetables that have it, etc. Sometimes we take supplements (like multi-vitamins) because we have trouble meeting the nutrient goal we may have. For example, I believe Whey protein is very beneficial for post workout recovery, but I wouldn’t advise for it to take the place of protein coming from whole food throughout the day. Getting our nutrients from food is always the best bet. The fact that this study shows more of a benefit in this specific situation from the actual blueberries than from an antioxidant supplement, helps support this idea.
I like to tell people that a good fitness and nutrition plan literally makes your life better. Here we see that in addition to all of the health benefits we have heard about blueberries, they can also help us in fitness recovery! Stay active and eat right. You deserve it.
Mcleay, Yanita et al., 2012 “Effect of New Zealand blueberry consumption on recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. N.p., 2012. Web. 27 May 2012. <http://www.jissn.com/content/9/1/19/abstract>.