Antioxidants and Muscle Damage
Antioxidants help the body by decreasing damage from free radicals. With the heavy increase in oxygen consumption during exercise, lots of free radicals are formed. These free radicals can drive inflammation up and hinder recovery.
There are many recovery supplements on the market that have high levels of antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, but research is mixed on whether individual antioxidants or antioxidants in combination can actually support recovery. Some research shows the opposite may in fact be true. The most likely reason for this is that newer research suggests that antioxidants work best in certain ratios to each other, and taking supplements for only a few upsets that balance.
Food is the ideal place to get your antioxidants from. One recent study showed that blueberries may improve muscle recovery time to a greater extent than other foods, outside of its antioxidant potential. Other foods which are beneficial and contain large amounts of antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals are kiwis and berries in general.