14. A blaze of blueberries for pain-free bliss
Blueberries come from a flowering shrub. They are dark blue to purple in color. The blueberry shrub is related to the shrubs that produce huckleberries and cranberries. The humble blueberry is a pie-making staple. Blueberries are tasty and sweet. They are low in calories, but high in nutrients, and have many health benefits. They have the highest levels of antioxidants in comparison with most fruits and vegetables people include in their daily diet. You can buy both fresh and frozen blueberries from your local supermarket or grocer.
Research published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition showed that athletes given blueberry smoothies 5-10 hours prior to testing, straight afterward, as well as 12-36 hours later. They showed improved levels of muscle recovery from exercise in comparison with those not given blueberry smoothies. It is not clear exactly what relation the blueberries had to the muscle recovery, although scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidant levels in the blueberries. Continued study to establish a firm link between these antioxidants and muscle recovery will continue.
One of the many functions of the antioxidants such as those found in blueberries is to relieve oxidative stress. Exercise is a major cause of oxidative stress. The body will heal itself from this oxidative stress. It seems that introducing additional antioxidants to the body speeds the process up.
There are many recipes for blueberry smoothies. One common recipe calls for 1 cup of blueberries (preferably frozen), 1 ripe banana, and 1 cup of plain non-fat yogurt. Blend these ingredients together for a delicious, healthy smoothie. Add a few ice cubes before blending to thicken the mixture.