Blueberries may boost memory and stave off Alzheimer’s
Blueberries have been found to fight Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. A team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati found that the “superfruit,” which is loaded with healthful antioxidants, can effectively fight Alzheimer’s disease.
Blueberries, hailed as a superfood, have been known to help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading type of dementia in the U.S. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) around half the nursing home residents in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s. Approximately 5.5 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2050 the number is expected to rise to 16 million. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. According to many research conducted, the only way to prevent or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s is by making changes in diet.
Dementia specialist Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, who is also the director of the Banner-Sun Health Research Inst. in Arizona, believes that the scientific theory which ties blueberries to improved brain health is really big. [Read more Drinking coffee daily may lead to a longer life, new study shows]
A 2010 study showed that older adults suffering from age-related memory loss were able to improve their memory functions by consuming wild blueberry juice daily. This was the first study which claimed that blueberry juice enhanced the cognitive skills of older adults who developed memory problems due to aging.
Nine people aged 70 and over, who had age-related memory lapses were chosen for the test. They were given 2 ½ cups of wild blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks. A control group of 7 adults were given same amount of drink, but without the blueberry juice (placebo), for 12 weeks.
Memory tests that involved word association and recall tasks were conducted at the beginning and end of the research. [Read more Eat blueberries for a healthy heart]
The results showed a significant improvement of cognitive skills on the group drinking blueberry juice compared to the group that had placebo.
“The findings of this preliminary study suggest that moderate-term blueberry supplementation can confer neurocognitive benefit,” said researcher Robert Krikorian and his team at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center.
The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Researchers also saw a trend that suggested decrease in symptoms of depression among the group that drank wild blueberry juice. The same group also showed a lower glucose level.
A study conducted by National Institute on Ageing at Tufts University in Boston showed blueberry consumption improves memory. The scientists studied two groups of lab rats with ageing illness. One group was fed blueberry extract while the other was given a normal diet for eight weeks.
The study showed that the group which took blueberry extract had a fewer loss of brain cells and were able to find their way around a maze easily compared to those who had a regular diet.
A joint study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed that regular consumption of blueberries may reduce cognitive impairment among older adults.
16,000 women with an average of 74 were studied in this research. The participants’ cognitive function and diet were analyzed every two years. The research showed that women who had the highest intake of berries were able to delay their cognitive aging by 2 ½ years.
Dr. Elizabeth Devoere of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School described the findings as “exciting.” She said, “A simple dietary modification may provide memory benefits for older adults.”
The study was published in the Annals of Neurology.
The study authors believe that flavonoids – a form of antioxidant is responsible for improving cognitive skills. Blueberries also contain phytochemicals that also act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammation effects. [Read more Coffee may stave off Multiple Sclerosis]
Making blueberry a part of our healthy and balanced diet is definitely a good idea. These little blue gems are packed with nutrients and very low in calorie. A whole cup blueberry has only 84 calories. It is also very low in sugar. Try adding blueberries to fruit salad, mix them with low-fat yogurt or have them in the morning with breakfast cereals. Here is a blueberry juice recipe for your brains:
Blueberry brain juice
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I am Salahuddin Ahmed, a freelance medical writer and blogger. I have been writing about Health and Medicine for more than a decade. I graduated from the University of Louisiana with a BS degree in Management, and I also received my Associate's degree in E-technology from NIIT, Dhaka. An ardent reader, I like shopping for rare books. I enjoy movies and fusion cooking. I bleed coffee - a disorder I got from living in America for twenty years.