Blueberries are known for being powerful antioxidant’s and positively contribute to our body’s anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Researchers have now found that drinking blueberry juice also increases brain function in older adults and reduces the effects of cognitive decline. This is especially important since as we get older, our cognitive function worsens.
The study, held at the University of Exeter, found that individuals in their 60’s and 70’s who consumed concentrated blueberry juice significantly improved cognitive function in 3 months time. More specifically, they found that individuals had increased blood flow to the brain, increased activation of brain cells during cognitive testing, and improvements in working memory.
Dr. Joanna Bowtell, head of the Sport and Health Sciences department at the university explains,
“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.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.”
The participants were required to drink 30 mL of the juice daily, which is equivalent to eating 230 grams of blueberries a day.
To find their results, researchers measured baseline cognition and brain function using a functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) scanner. They then ran the same tests 12-weeks after and compared the data.
To not bias their data, the researchers discluded anyone who already consumes the current vegetable and fruit daily serving requirements, which amounts to five portions per day.
Other previous research has shown that consuming a diet rich in plant-based foods is associated with a decreased risk of dementia later in life, and that older adults who consume a diet high in vegetables and fruits have better preserved cognitive function.