London – Concentrated blueberry juice could help you improve brain function in humans – especially in elder people – a new study has revealed.
Blueberry is one of the richest sources of flavonoids, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and for this reason it is considered good for our general health. Owing to these properties of blueberry, scientists carried out a study to find out whether the berry has the potential of improving brain functions.
Researchers give 12 out of 26 healthy adults concentrated blueberry juice – providing the equivalent of 230g of blueberries – once a day, while 14 received a placebo. Before and after the 12-week period, participants took a range of cognitive tests while an MRI scanner monitored their brain function and resting brain blood flow was measured.
Scientists found that those who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day showed improvements in cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and activation of the brain while carrying out cognitive tests. Researchers said that there was also evidence suggesting improvement in working memory.
Joanna Bowtell, from University of Exeter in the UK said, “Our cognitive function tends to decline as we get older, but previous research has shown that cognitive function is better preserved in healthy older adults with a diet rich in plant-based foods”.
Bowtell added, “In this study 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”.
Compared to the placebo group, those who took the blueberry supplement showed significant increases in brain activity in brain areas related to the tests. The findings excluded anyone who said they consumed more than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and all participants were told to stick to their normal diet throughout.
Previous research has shown that risk of dementia is reduced by higher fruit and vegetable intake, and cognitive function is better preserved in healthy older adults with a diet rich in plant-based foods. Flavonoids, which are abundant in plants, are likely to be an important component in causing these effects.