Blueberry juice improves brain function in older adults, study shows

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blueberry juice benefits
Blueberry juice is packed with health benefits. Source: Flickr

Free radicals and oxidative stress can cause extensive damage to the brain. Antioxidants in blueberries can delay cognitive impairment, thus contributing to improved brain health. A new study from the University of Exeter, UK, has shown that regular consumption of concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older adults and may even put the brakes on memory loss.

Scientists from the University of Exeter, UK, have studied the effects of concentrated blueberry juice consumption on 26 older adults over a 12-week period.

Participants took a range of cognitive tests before and after the trial. Their brain function and resting brain blood flow were measured and closely monitored throughout the study.

Of the 26 adults in the trial, 12 received 30 ml (1 ounce) of concentrated blueberry juice (the equivalent of 230 g of blueberries, approximately 8 oz) once a day for 12 weeks, while the remaining 14 were given a synthetic placebo drink with a similar energy content.

“Participants were randomized to consume either 30 ml blueberry concentrate (5 female, 7 male; average age 67.5) or placebo (8 female, 6 male; average age 69),” Head of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, lead scientist Dr. Joanna Bowtell said.

Compared to the placebo group, those who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day showed significant improvements in cognitive function, brain activation and blood flow to the brain. According to the researchers, there were also signs of improvement in their working memory.

“In this study we have shown that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30 ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation and some aspects of working memory were improved in a group of healthy older adults,” Dr. Bowtell said.

The results were published in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism journal.

An earlier study performed on 16,010 elderly adults produced evidence that regular consumption of blueberries delayed cognitive impairment by 2.5 years.

“Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. High flavonoid intakes attenuate age-related cognitive decline,” Bowtell explained.

Thanks to their high antioxidant count, blueberries are packed with health benefits. Blueberry consumption is associated with lower blood pressure, decelerated aging, better overall health, and weight loss.

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