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article imageBlueberries appear to boost brain function

By Tim Sandle     Mar 18, 2017 in Health
The hunt for new ‘super-foods’ continues (assuming that there really are super-foods rather than sensible diets). Attention has now turned to the humble blueberry and its apparent ability to boost brain function.
The new research comes from the U.K. via the University of Exeter. Here the researchers found that drinking concentrated blueberry juice, once per day, has the effect of enhancing brain function. This relates to a trial conducted with a small group of healthy older adults.
Blueberries are made up of 14 percent carbohydrates, 0.7 percent protein, 0.3 percent fat and 84 percent water. In addition they contain trace amounts of micronutrients like manganese, and they are relatively rich in vitamin C. Blueberries also contain anthocyanins, other polyphenols and various phytochemicals, which may impart some health benefits.
The new study has looked at flavonoids. These are found in high levels in blueberries and they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. To examine whether drinking blueberries imparts any health benefits, 12 participants, who were aged 65 to 77 years old, were asked to drink concentrated blueberry juice each day. The juice was the equivalent to 230 grams of blueberries. The subjects drank the juice each day for 12 weeks. A control group were given a placebo.
Chile is the world leader in exports of blueberries.
Chile is the world leader in exports of blueberries.
During the course of the study the participants were asked to take part in a variety of cognitive tests. Brain scans were also performed, using magnetic resonance imaging. The scans revealed information about brain blood flow.
The result of the tests showed that those who drank the daily blueberry juice showed significant increases in cognitive function (as shown by a better working memory). In addition, blood flow to the brain was better. This was in comparison to those who received the placebo. The researchers report that the study confirms other research that suggests when seniors eat a diet rich in fruit this helps to maintain cognitive function.
Commenting on the study, principal scientist Dr. Joanna Bowtell said “we have shown that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation, and some aspects of working memory were improved in this group of healthy older adults.”
The research findings are published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, under the heading: “Enhanced task related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation.”
More about Blueberries, Fruit juice, Brains, brain function
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