"Eat your blueberries!" say human performance researchers. Who knew this teeny tiny fruit could be such a gem in providing a better workout.
High concentrations of polyphenols also known as a form of antioxidant, found in the fruit, helps neutralize bioactive compounds that assist in lowering blood pressure and blood glucose and reduces inflammation.
Dr. David Nieman, director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab and lead author of the study conducted a study with long-distance runners. The athletes were given either a soy protein complex mixed with polyphenols from blueberries and green tea or just the raw protein complex.
"The complex was to be ingested for two weeks, and during three days of running for two-and-a-half hours each day," according to the study. "Metabolomics, a new technology, showed that the intense exercise increased gut permeability, promoting the transfer of phenolics into the body in much higher amounts than before the exercise."
The study showed that exercise stimulates the absorption of the polyphenols quicker. It also showed that the runners in the polyphenol research group demonstrated a longer period of an evident fast metabolism even hours after the runs.
At the ingestion of the polyphenols, Dr. Mary Ann Lila, director of North Carolina State University's Plants for Human Health Institute, said in a news release, "we showed that metabolism is stimulated by exercise, but we also saw fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis with more ketones at 14 hours post-exercise in the treatment group." She added, "The placebo group went back to normal levels."
"The findings reinforce the potential benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables, and in particular blueberries, before and after exercise," said Lila.
The findings are published in the Journal PLOS One.