Eating wild blueberries every day could reverse cognitive decline in the elderly, according to a new study that highlights the potential findings of the often-dubbed superfood.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that elderly Americans who already suffered from demonstrable cognitive problems could benefit greatly from eating the fruit every day. In many cases, their brain health reached the same levels as people with no known history of cognitive impairment.
There are currently no known cures for conditions such as dementia. No reliable treatments have been discovered to slow its progression either. The results of this study are potentially groundbreaking, as they demonstrate that a simple fruit can do what medicine developed after decades of medical research could not.
Blueberries have long been known as a “superfood,” with their antioxidant properties and multitude of other vitamins and minerals linked to brain health and reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, among other health benefits. health.
Eating wild blueberries every day may reverse cognitive decline and boost overall brain health, new study finds
The researchers, who published their findings earlier this month in Nutritional Neuroscience, collected data from 86 older adults between the ages of 65 and 80.
The group self-reported all cognitive problems. Another 43 people in the same age range with no reported brain problems were recruited to serve as a control group.
After a baseline exam to determine cognitive functioning at the start of the study, participants were divided into two groups: one added wild blueberry powder to their diets and the other a placebo.
Dr. Carol Cheatham, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UNC who led the research, told DailyMail.com that this study specifically used wild blueberries from Maine.
The berries’ phytochemicals have developed defenses against skin cancer, pests and other elements in the harsh Northeast environment.
As a result, these phytochemicals are rich in chemicals that are great for a person’s cognitive health.
“Phytochemicals are plant compounds that develop to defend the plant against environmental stress, fungi, bacteria and viruses,” said paper author Dr. Mary Ann Lila of North Carolina State University in a statement .
Dr. Carol Cheatham (pictured), lead author of the study, said she mixes two cups of blueberries into her diet every day to improve her brain health.
“Once consumed by humans, they pass on these health benefits to us. The research study conducted here at NRI shows that specific phytochemicals in the wild blueberry are important for brain health.”
Participants mixed the powder with their food each day. Six months later, they re-examined cognitive health.
The researchers found that those who consumed blueberries every day greatly recovered their mental processing speed after their period.
It was restored to the point that, on average, they had the same processing speed as the control group who reported no cognitive impairment.
Processing speed is the brain’s ability to store and then recall information. The researchers don’t point out that it’s key to all brain functions, and its improvement shows an overall jump in brain health.
Although the study was relatively small, Cheatham is hopeful that his team has found a natural solution to cognitive problems that affect millions of Americans.
These wild blueberries are available in the frozen fruit section of many grocery stores in America.
However, if a person can’t find them, he recommends any blue-colored fruit, such as other blueberries, purple grapes, or blackberries, for a minor boost to cognitive health.
Cheatham said she has personally mixed blueberries into her daily diet, blending about two cups into a smoothie every morning.
The average person hoping to keep their brain in top shape is advised to mix berries into their diet daily if possible, and even amounts far below Cheatham’s daily intake can be effective.
“Eating wild blueberries has no side effects,” he said.