Researchers in New Zealand have found that blueberries may help athletes recover faster from exercise.
Whilst blueberries have long been known as a superfood due to their high level of anti-oxidants, this latest small scale research from the Plant & Food Research and Massey University School of Sport and Exercise shows they may have wider benefits than first thought.
Massey's head of Sport and Exercise Science, Dr Steve Stannard says the findings could help Olympians return to peak performance more quickly after strenuous exercise.
The team of scientists used a novel method that compared one leg of a participant to the other. “We put the study group on a Biodex machine which is normally used to assess and treat muscle weaknesses at varying speeds.
"The participants worked 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.”
Dr Stannard says it is not yet clear exactly why the blueberries help. “However, 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.
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