Blueberry on wooden background

Why blueberries are especially good for older adults

Blueberries are a favourite in the summer. They are sweet and succulent and are a favourite treat for everyone. Blueberries are even more popular than strawberries and have one of the highest antioxidant capacities amongst all fruits and vegetables.

They are rich in flavonoids, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

High flavonoid intake can reduce the decline in age-related cognition. However, so far data from human intervention studies about the effect of high flavonoid on cognition are sparse.

Brain blood flow, brain activation and cognitive functions were improved by drinking blueberry concentrate.

But, a new study from the University of Exeter found that drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older people.

The scientists of this study, investigated 26 heathy adults aged 65-77 for 12 weeks. 12 adults out of the 26 were given 30 ml of blueberry concentrate every day, which is an equivalent of 230 g of blueberries once a day. 14 adults received a placebo.

The study excluded anyone who was consuming more than five portions of fruit and vegetable every day.

However, all the participants of the study were told to continue with their normal diet.

Participants took a range of cognitive tests before and after the 12 week period. An MRI scanner monitored brain function. Resting brain blood was measured and blood biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress was also assessed.

There was a  significant increase in brain activity in response to blueberry supplementation compared to the placebo group, as well as substantial improvement in grey matter in the parietal and occipital lobes which are regions of the brain.

The study reported that the group which drank blueberry concentrate showed an improvement in cognitive functions and blood flow to the brain, along with brain activation improvement while carrying out cognitive tasks.

The tests also found that drinking blueberry supplementation improved working memory compared to the placebo group.

Previous studies have shown that consuming fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of dementia and cognition is better preserved in older adults with a diet rich in plant-based foods.

As flavonoids are abundant in plants, it seems that the beneficial effect is likely caused by it.

Blueberries have so many benefits for the human body and studies like this are showing us that the blueberry is indeed living up to its ‘super fruit’ status. Besides health benefits, blueberries just taste so good, that you don’t need an excuse to indulge in them every day.

Source: Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism

Meena Azzollini

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!

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