Want to get leaner and fitter? Superfruit that could help discovered by scientists
- Eating a cup of blueberries a day could burn body fat, according to a new study
- Scientists say the antioxidant rich berry could improve athletic performance
Blueberries could be the key to getting leaner and fitter.
Eating the superfruit helps improve athletic performance and burn body fat, according to US researchers.
They found that eating 25g of freeze-dried blueberries every day, which is equivalent to eating around a cup of the fruit in its natural form, prompts the body to burn more fat while exercising.
On top of making you leaner, they could also help your muscles save their scarcer glycogen supplies — the body’s main source of energy.
This means the fruit could help you exercise for longer and even perform better.
Blueberries are known to be high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which gives them their deep purple hue. Found in other dark, red or purple berries, the darker the fruit, the more of the antioxidant it contains
When exercising, the body breaks down fatty acids for energy, a process known as fat oxidation.
But as workout becomes more intense, the rate of fat oxidation decreases and no longer provides sufficient fuel — forcing the body to turn to its glycogen supplies, which is built up from carbohydrates.
However, as glycogen levels decline, the body becomes more tired, which can limit exercise performance.
Blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which gives them their deep purple hue. Recent studies suggest this compound may also increase fat oxidation.
So the team of scientists, based at California Polytechnic State University and Gonzago University’s Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, sought to determine whether a concentrated dose of blueberries could boost this process.
They recruited 11 healthy male cyclists, who were quizzed on their health and did 40 minutes of moderate cycling, during which the scientists took finger-prick blood samples every 10 minutes.
Over the course of two weeks, the athletes consumed 25g of freeze-dried wild blueberries powder a day, which contained 375g of anthocyanins.
They then did the same 40-minute cycle, during which their blood was taken.
The tests found that fat oxidation rates increased by 19.7 per cent at 20 minutes of exercising, 43.2 per cent at 30 minutes and 31.1 per cent at 40 minutes, meaning the volunteers burned more fat after eating the berries.
They also burned less carbohydrate-dependent glycogen stores at each time point, according to the findings published in the journal Nutrients.
Lactate levels in their blood — which are a marker of fatigue — were also found to be ‘significantly reduced’, according to the scientists.
This suggests their endurance was improved considerably.
The report stated: ‘This study was the first to investigate whether WB (wild blueberry) consumption would elicit greater [fat oxidation] rates during an exercise protocol aimed to maximise fat oxidation using moderate-intensity exercise in healthy, trained males.’
It added: ‘This novel study documented that consuming WBs for 14 days increased [fat oxidation], decreased [carbohydrate oxidation] and decreased plasma lactate levels during 40 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling.’
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