By the end of 2030, there are expected to be at least 82 million cases of dementia worldwide. Scientists have been dutifully searching for a cure, but they continue to hit roadblocks. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit patiently on the sidelines. If you do though, make sure to sip some blueberry juice…
Nutritional research is showing how certain foods can help strengthen the brain, giving us better memory, snappier recall and improved mental resilience so we can age with grace. We’ve even learned more about the one food we should avoid to protect our cognitive health.
Best of all, this latest food study shows how this one food that is making tremendous health improvements to the brain is available at almost any grocery store.
How blueberry juice can save your brain and improves memory
Researchers at the University of Exeter in England took 26 participants between the ages of 65 and 77 and had them all take a series of cognition tests, followed up with MRI scans to look at brain function and blood flow.
After recording their observations, the researchers instructed half the group to drink a daily placebo liquid while the other half was given two tablespoons of blueberry juice to drink daily (this would be equivalent to 1 and a half cups of blueberries).
Three months later, the researchers had the participants redo their cognition tests and were shocked!
Those who drank the blueberry juice every day had improved their cognition scores by 40 percent and their memory scores by 30 percent.
Just as amazing, the MRI scans of those who drank the blueberry juice showed increases in both their brain blood flow and gray matter activity.
Scientists believe this is because blueberries possess a highly concentrated form of antioxidants called anthocyanins. Not only are anthocyanins great for mental function, but they also offer other benefits. Antioxidants, of which the most famous may be resveratrol, have long been tied to healthier aging.
Here are other ways blueberries help protect us as we age:
- Heart Disease: The Harvard School of Public Health found that regularly eating foods with anthocyanins like blueberries was shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks by 32 percent.
- Cancer: The phytonutrients in blueberries act as powerful antioxidants that have been shown time and time again to protect against the damaging effects of free radicals. Phytonutrients help to inhibit tumor growth, at the same time decreasing levels of inflammation. This compound has successfully helped to ward off various cancers associated with the esophagus, lungs, mouth, pharynx, pancreas, prostate and colon.
- Diabetes: Blueberries have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism thanks to their high fiber and anthocyanins content.
Increase your anthocyanins from blueberries and other foods
Based on the above study, blueberry juice is the way to go to achieving brain benefits. You can find it in many grocery stores. If not, try either a specialty grocery store or supplement shop. You can also juice blueberries in a juicer (depending on your sensitivity to sugar, a smoothie may be a better alternative because of the additional fiber from the skin being incorporated into the drink).
Aside from drinking blueberry juice, here are some other simple ways of incorporating more blueberries into your daily routine:
- Add to smoothies
- Turn into a syrup
- Make (or buy) a blueberry jam
- Add to yogurt
- Freeze them
- Puree them and put into ice cubes for naturally sweetened water
- Add to a salad for a burst of sweetness
- Enjoy on their own as a mid-day snack
Supplements are also another great way to increase your blueberry intake. Make sure to stick with blueberry extracts rather than blends to maximize your anthocyanins intake.
If blueberries aren’t available, here are some other anthocyanin-rich foods:
- Purple sweet potato
- Various berries (Blackberries, Cranberries, Blackcurrants, Raspberries, Strawberries)
- Red cabbage
Editor’s note: While you’re working hard to do all the right things to save your brain and your memory, make sure you’re not being sabotaged by medication. Click here to learn more about the statin danger to your brain!
Dementia — World Health Organization
Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults — Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
Everything you need to know about blueberries — Medical News Today