A Dietitian Explains Why Bodybuilders Eat Blueberries

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Blueberries are often praised as a superfood thanks to their excellent nutritional profile, but you’re probably wondering how that translates to bodybuilding. As a dietitian, I dug into the topic to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Blueberries can indirectly support muscle growth thanks to their rich antioxidant profile. These helpful compounds can limit muscle inflammation, support post-workout recovery, and boost workout performance.
  • Blueberries have some carbs (21 grams per cup), which can be helpful for bodybuilding. However, it’s best to enjoy them alongside other carb sources like rice cakes to get the recommended gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight before training.
  • Given their relatively low-calorie (84 per cup) and high-fiber (3.5 grams) content, blueberries can be an excellent snack while cutting. They can keep you full longer and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Blueberries: Overview

nutrition content of one cup of blueberries 148 grams


Blueberries are relatively low in calories, with one cup providing 84 calories

That said, you can still enjoy them while bulking to create the necessary calorie surplus for growth.  Simply scale up your portion size.  

Blueberries are also versatile, so add them to any smoothie with other ingredients, like olive oil or peanut butter, to help increase your calorie intake.

Another option is blueberry juice if you have trouble adding calories to your diet. Blueberry juice is energy-dense (11 calories per fluid ounce), ideal for bodybuilders in a bulking phase.


Blueberries provide mostly carbs (21.5 grams per cup) with almost no protein and fats.

A bodybuilder relies on carbs as their primary energy source, making blueberries a suitable addition to a meal plan.

A benefit is that blueberries have some fiber, with one cup covering 14% of the recommended daily intake (3.5 grams). 

Fiber supports gut health and bowel movements (as it adds bulk to the stool). It also promotes satiety (feelings of fullness), which is beneficial during a cut.

That said, remember that blueberries only have carbs, so you’ll need to pair it with a source of protein and fats to make it an ideal bodybuilding snack or meal.  


Blueberries are rich in vitamins C and K, as well as the mineral manganese. 

Check out my complete guide on the Best Fruits For Muscle Gain.

Pros Of Eating Blueberries For Bodybuilding

pros of eating blueberries for bodybuilding

1. Antioxidants That Can Improve Recovery

Blueberries have an excellent antioxidant profile and are rich in anthocyanins.

So, what’s the benefit for bodybuilding?

One study found that blueberry supplementation may improve exercise performance and limit inflammatory markers thanks to an increase in overall antioxidant capacity (mainly due to the anthocyanin content).

In the study, eight male runners went through two conditions: supplementing with blueberries and not supplementing. The dose was 140 grams of blueberries (less than a cup).

The performance improvement in the “blueberry group” was 6.49%, as measured during VO2 max tests (designed to measure overall cardiovascular fitness).

Additionally, levels of one inflammatory marker (IL-6) decreased by approximately 44.6%. Levels of another marker (CRP) went down by 90.9%.

Reducing these specific inflammatory markers can help limit muscle soreness, allowing for faster recovery and more time spent in the gym doing high-volume muscle-building workouts.

This can be particularly valuable when training on back-to-back days, especially if soreness gets in the way of your performance.

As Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, a former powerlifting champion and molecular biochemist, writes: 

“Antioxidants can decrease unproductive cell damage, help the recovery process, help to prevent injuries, decrease fatigue, and play an important role in maximizing the training effect and subsequently improving performance and body composition.”

2. Low Glycemic Index To Maintain Energy Levels

Blueberries have a glycemic index (GI) of 53, which is classified as low. It’s about the same as the GI of kiwi, mango, and pineapple. 

This means blueberries digest fairly slowly and don’t increase blood sugar levels as quickly as high-GI foods like white bread, rice cakes, and fruit juice.

One benefit for bodybuilding is that blueberries provide a steadier and more reliable increase in energy levels, which could support your performance during longer training sessions.

In contrast, high-GI food might boost your energy levels more quickly, but you may also experience a ‘crash’ afterward and feel tired and sleepy.

3. Excellent Weight Loss Snack Due To Fiber

Given their relatively low energy (84 calories per cup) and high fiber content (3.5 grams), blueberries are a good weight-loss snack.

They can satisfy your sweet tooth while also filling you up, thanks to fiber’s ability to slow gastric emptying (the process of food leaving the stomach).

As health writer Valencia Patrice Higuera notes:

“Blueberries are a healthy choice when you want to snack on something sweet but don’t want to sabotage your weight-loss efforts. High-fiber foods leave you feeling fuller for longer than low-fiber foods do, so you’re likely to eat less.”

Con of Eating Blueberries For Bodybuilding

con of eating blueberries for bodybuilding

Part of the Dirty Dozen

The “Dirty Dozen” is a group of fruits and vegetables high in pesticides. Like strawberries, blueberries are also part of this group.

You might wonder how that might affect you as a bodybuilder. 

Having a high intake of pesticides has been linked to reduced immune function and stomach problems

These can hurt your overall health and well-being, potentially causing you to spend more time at home than in the gym.

Whenever possible, try having organic blueberries (organic foods have been shown to have fewer pesticides). If you cannot have them organic, there are several ways to remove some of the pesticides. 

One of those is mixing one cup of white vinegar with 3 cups of water. Soak them for at least 5-10 minutes. Rinse and enjoy.

Can You Eat Blueberries Before Workouts?

Blueberries can be beneficial before working out since they are relatively high in carbs. However, eating them at least 90 minutes before training would be best, given their fiber content (since we don’t want to slow digestion before training).

blueberries for bodybuilding

Also, you can’t solely rely on blueberries for carbs, as research suggests having at least a gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight for optimal performance.

For a bodybuilder who weighs 80 kilograms (176 lbs), that would be 80 grams of carbs or almost four cups of blueberries.

Instead, you may enjoy a cup of blueberries and include low-fiber carb sources like white bread with jam or rice cakes.

Keep in mind that blueberries don’t have any protein or fats. If you want a more balanced meal to provide a steadier energy release 2-3 hours before training, you need to add these two. 

For example, add some Greek yogurt to increase the protein intake, or add some nut butter to increase the healthy fats. 

Can You Eat Blueberries After Workouts?

Blueberries are an excellent fruit to add after exercise. They provide some carbs to help refuel your energy storage after exercise, but they are also rich in antioxidants. 

As discussed, antioxidants help decrease inflammation, which may lead to better muscle recovery.

Research recommends having at least 0.3 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight after training. For our 80-kilo (176-lb) bodybuilder, that would be at least 24 grams of carbs or a bit over one cup of blueberries

Remember that after training, you need protein to help repair muscle (0.3 to 0.5 grams per kilogram). Since blueberries lack protein, add a source of protein-like cottage cheese, to help muscle growth and recovery. 

Final Verdict: Do Blueberries Help Muscle Growth?

Blueberries can increase your calorie intake and help you create the necessary surplus for optimal muscle gain

That said, blueberries are more satiating and can have the opposite effect: keeping you full and reducing your overall calorie intake.

So, it’s best to experiment with a smaller amount (say, a cup daily) to see if they impact your overall intake too much.

If you can’t even eat one cup, add them to smoothies or have them as juice to add calories.

Also, it’s worth noting that you need dietary fats for hormonal health and protein for muscle repair and growth. Good fat sources include olive oil, egg yolk, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.

In order to build muscle, research recommends having at least 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily (0.8 grams per pound), so include enough high-protein foods:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Whey protein


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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.

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