A potent antioxidant, blueberries are said to have a number of positive health effects and continue to be studies for their potential benefits.

One recent study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research claims that nature’s lone blue food may protect muscles from exercise damage. Researchers from the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research found that “the blueberry extract protected the muscle fibres in a dose-dependent manner.” Study author Dr. Roger Hurst wrote that:

“These in vitro data support the concept that blueberry fruits or derived foods rich in malvidin glycosides may be beneficial in alleviating muscle damage caused by oxidative stress.”

According to reports on the findings, “damage to muscle cells exposed to oxidative stress was significantly reduced when also exposed to doses of blueberry fruit extracts.”

Researchers are studying the effects blueberries can have on protecting your muscles during exercise

Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals reproduce in the body and damage cell walls, vessel walls, proteins, fats and even the DNA nucleus of our cells. While oxidation is a naturally occurring process, there are certain lifestyle and environmental factors that can accelerate this process and increase the production of damaging free radicals. These factors include cigarette smoke, excess stress, certain medication, radiation, excessive exercise and overexposure to sunlight.

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