Blueberry properties and contraindications
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Exercising causes us to breathe more intensely, causing our body to oxidize more and muscle inflammation.
Let’s talk about two scientific tests that were conducted to check the effects of a daily ration of blueberries.
The first test consisted of taking 250 grams of blueberries per day for 6 weeks and 375 grams one hour before running for two and a half hours. For this test, 25 well-trained subjects were recruited and randomly assigned to cranberry or control groups. Blood, muscle and urine samples were collected before exercise and immediately after exercise, and blood and urine samples were collected 1 hour after exercise.
The blood was tested for oxidative stress, cortisol, cytokines, homocysteine, leukocytes and lymphocyte cell counts for inflammation and immune system activation, and the ferric reduction capacity of plasma for antioxidant capacity. We examined muscle biopsies for glycogen and NFkB expression to assess stress and inflammation. Urine was analyzed to modify DNA (8-OHDG) and RNA (5-OHMU) as markers of nucleic acid oxidation. NK cells (Natural Killer cells, an important component of the innate immune system for the body’s defense) were also tested.
Increases in F₂-isoprostanes and 5-OHMU were significantly lower in the bilberry and IL-10 plasma group and NK cell counts were significantly higher in people who took bilberries, compared to those who did not. Changes in all other markers did not differ.
This study indicates that daily consumption of cranberries for 6 weeks increases NK cell counts, and acute ingestion reduces oxidative stress and increases anti-inflammatory cytokines. Dietary antioxidants have been shown to reduce excessive oxidative stress; however, their effectiveness in facilitating recovery afterwards is not clear. Cranberries demonstrate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Other studies on the properties of blueberries
This was not the only study that was conducted regarding the properties of blueberries. A study was also conducted in New Zealand to test the effect of blueberries after intense exercise.
A randomized crossover selection was performed, with 10 women consuming a cranberry shake or placebo with similar antioxidant capacity 5 and 10 hours earlier. Then, 12 to 36 hours later, the subjects were asked to perform 300 intense eccentric quadriceps contractions. Absolute maximum torque and mean maximum torque through the knee were measured during concentric, isometric and eccentric actions. Blood biomarkers of oxidative stress, antioxidant capacity and inflammation were assessed at 12, 36 and 60 hours after exercise.
A faster rate of decrease in oxidative stress was observed in the cranberry group, but it was not significant until 36 hours after exercise and, interestingly, coincided with a gradual increase in plasma antioxidant capacity, while biomarkers for inflammation were still elevated after 60 hours of recovery.
This study showed that after drinking a cranberry shake before and after exercise, it accelerates the recovery of maximum muscle strength. This effect, independent of the drink’s inherent antioxidant capacity, appears to involve an increase in adaptive processes, i.e., endogenous antioxidant processes, activated by the combined actions of eccentric exercise and cranberry consumption.
These findings may benefit the sports community, which should consider altering the diet to focus specifically on health and performance adaptation. Cranberries have a minimal amount of calories. In addition, it is a fruit that is perfectly compatible with the paleo-diet.
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