Another Reason to Love Blueberries

February 1, 2010 by  
Filed under health

Many of us love blueberries. And now we have another reason to love blueberries even more. A new study suggests that drinking wild blueberry juice daily may have the potential benefits of enhancing the memory of those at the risk of dementia and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Although there has been earlier research exhibiting that blueberries can improve memory in mice, this is the first time that research was conducted to demonstrate a similar effect in human beings. Robert Krikorian, psychiatrist at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Centre, one of the authors of the study stated, “The ultimate goal is to find ways to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.” He added, “These preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration.”
The researchers conducted a study to establish whether blueberry can help in keeping the mind sharper in those with failing memory. The investigators divided 16 participants, who showed signs of “early memory changes,” into two groups. All those recruited were in their 70’s. Nine of the subjects were asked to drink two or more cups of blueberry juice daily for two months while the remaining seven forming the control group drank a sweet placebo beverage minus the blueberry juice.

During the course of the study, the participants were closely monitored for adherence as well as any side effects. At the close of the study the subjects were once again tested on their cognitive abilities, learning skills and recall performance.

Observations by researchers:

The scientists noted that after 12 weeks, the subjects consuming blueberry juice exhibited a marked improvement in the learning and memory tests as opposed to those in the control group. In addition, the researchers observed a decline in symptoms of depression and lower glucose levels in the wild blueberry drinkers.

However, the researchers felt that there was need for more study to understand the health implications involved before confirming the results. “The important thing is that there are things people can do to prevent dementia, with little or no side effects,” said Krikorian.
Blueberries are rich in valuable nutrients, low in sugar, are healthy and have a great taste. They contain a host of wonderful ingredients from phytochemicals to vitamin C, potassium, iron, fiber and antioxidants. The properties found in blueberries have been linked to lowering cholesterol levels, encouraging heart health, protecting the body against certain types of cancers, promoting healthy aging, reducing inflammation and cataracts.

Go figure. Like I need anymore reason to love blueberries.

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