Blueberries for weight loss, blueberries to fight cancer and now blueberries have been found to stop dementias developing. Is there anything the tiny blue fruit can’t do?!
If you’re not already tucking into the superfood, and no, blueberry muffins do not count, then surely now is the time to start – especially if you’re middle aged as scientists from the University of Cincinnati found consuming them at this life point could stop dementia developing decades later.
Lead researcher Robert Krikorian looked at 47 men and women aged 68-plus who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (trouble remembering something). People with MCI are more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
The test group was each given a powder to take every day for four months, either made up of freeze-dried blueberries or a placebo alternative. The freeze-dried powder was made especially for the study, and was the equivalent to a small teacupful of berries.
Participants also had to complete a series of mental tests, focusing on the memory and thinking skills that are eroded by dementia.
Results clearly showed that the fruit boosted the brain’s ability and made it more active.
“There was a significant improvement in cognitive function in those who had the blueberry powder, compared with those who took the placebo,” Dr. Krikorian explained, adding he believes it’s to do with the anthocyanins found in blueberries.
The chemical is what gives blueberries their colour, and has been linked to boosting blood flow, cutting inflammation, and enhancing the passage of information between cells.
Blueberries also helped people who hadn’t been diagnosed with memory problems, but just felt they were becoming more forgetful.
“Our findings corroborate those of previous animal studies and preliminary human studies, adding further support to the notion that blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in older adults,” Dr. Krikorian added.
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