Not all fruit was created equal. Some are simply better than others when it comes to health benefits or exercise recovery. Generally, it seems the darker the fruit(or vegetable for that matter), the more beneficial. Hence the superiority of cherries and blueberries over grapes. Let’s see what the science has to say.
According to the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, in the study Grape Consumption’s Effects on Fitness, Muscle Injury, Mood, and Perceived Health:
Six weeks of supplemental grape consumption by recreationally active young adults has no effect on VO2max, work capacity, mood, perceived health status, inflammation, pain, or physical-function responses to a mild injury induced by eccentric exercise.
This doesn’t mean that grapes are bad, just that they aren’t among the better fruits. Let’s see what the science says for blueberries. The Effect of New Zealand blueberry consumption on recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damagein the J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012; 9: 19 found that:
A significant (p<0.001) decrease in isometric, concentric and eccentric torque was observed 12 hours following exercise in both treatment groups. During the 60 hour recovery period, a significant (p=0.047) interaction effect was seen for peak isometric tension suggesting a faster rate of recovery in the blueberry intervention group. A similar trend was observed for concentric and eccentric strength. An increase in oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers was also observed in both treatment groups following EIMD. Although a faster rate of decrease in oxidative stress was observed in the blueberry group, it was not significant (p<0.05) until 36 hours post-exercise and interestingly coincided with a gradual increase in plasma antioxidant capacity, whereas biomarkers for inflammation were still elevated after 60 hours recovery.
This study demonstrates that the ingestion of a blueberry smoothie prior to and after EIMD accelerates recovery of muscle peak isometric strength. This effect, although independent of the beverage’s inherent antioxidant capacity, appears to involve an up-regulation of adaptive processes, i.e. endogenous antioxidant processes, activated by the combined actions of the eccentric exercise and blueberry consumption. These findings may benefit the sporting community who should consider dietary interventions that specifically target health and performance adaptation.
Impressive. I’ll stick to eating blueberries instead of grapes for exercise recovery and for general health.