You couldn’t have failed to notice that summer is the prime time to purchase many fruits and blueberries is one fruit that is dominating our fresh produce section at the moment. In fact the sweet and tart flavor of blueberries make them a popular summer treat not only for their taste but the fact that they are succulent and incredibly nutritious. They can be eaten as a tasty treat on their own, added to Greek yoghurt for a healthy breakfast, used to sweeten up a salad or added to smoothies for a power packed punch of antioxidants.
This simple dark colored fruit has been shown to:-
- Protect against heart disease and cancer.
- Help maintain bone strength, mental health and blood pressure.
- Is often used in the management of diabetes.
Blueberries contain a plant compound called anthocyanin which gives them both their blue color and many of their health benefits. In fact, one cup of blueberries provides 24 percent of a persons’ recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
If that isn’t enough reasons to enjoy this delicious and nutritious berry and you need more convincing, a study has shown that supplementing your diet with blueberries may also help improve cognitive health, particularly as you age.
In March 2017, the European Journal of Nutrition published a study titled “Dietary blueberry improves cognition among older adults in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”. The study’s main focus was to concentrate on older adults who commonly suffered from decreased mobility and cognition. They wanted to learn whether or not by consuming blueberries both the motor and cognitive functions of older adults would improve, ultimately improving their overall quality of life.
The participants of the study included 13 men and 24 women between the ages of 60 and 75. The group were split up into two groups. Each day for 90 days, one group was given 24 grams of freeze-dried blueberries, the equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries, and the other group was given a blueberry-flavored placebo.
Before the study started, each participant was given a balance test, a gait analyses, and cognitive tests. They were tested again halfway through, and also at the end of the study.
The results showed a significant improvement in executive cognitive function with the blueberry group compared to the placebo group. However, there was no improvement in balance or gait.
The results led the researchers to believe that consumption of blueberries can help improve cognitive health in some areas. Obviously, additional studies need to be conducted to further support these findings, however, there is no doubt that the addition of blueberries to your diet is a great way to improve your overall health for many reasons.
Be aware though, that people who use blood-thinners, such as warfarin, should speak to their doctor before increasing their intake of blueberries, as the high vitamin K content can affect blood clotting.