An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but blueberry juice will help people remember who the doctor is. According to a new study, drinking blueberry juice can improve brain function in older adults.
In addition to any normal diet, consuming concentrated blueberry juice each day can lead to increased brain function. Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, blueberries help to reduce inflammation. They can also promote a healthy heart and assist with memory retention, as found in past studies by Harvard Health. Concentrated blueberry juice was used in this most recent study. The juice contained the power of 230 grams of blueberries in each serving.
The University of Exeter studied its effects on brain function in older adults. These older adults, ranging in age from 65 to 77 years, consumed the concentrated blueberry juice every day in addition to their normal diets.
Split into two groups, the 26 healthy adults in the study were either given the blueberry juice or a placebo. After 12 weeks of consuming 30 milliliters of the juice concentrate per day, the 13 individuals in that group showed noticeable improvements in brain activity compared to the placebo group.
“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,” said Dr. Joanna Bowtell, head of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. “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 adults selected for the study did not already eat a great many fruits and vegetables, and were encouraged to keep their diets as they normally would, only adding the 30 milliliters of the juice to their day as a supplement. To gauge the effectiveness of the juice, the participants were given cognitive tests while connected to an MRI scanner, and their resting brain blood flow was measured. The placebo group did not show any real change in the testing, MRI scans or blood flow.
However, the group that drank the juice did show great increases in brain function in areas related to the tests given.
Published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, this research supports the findings that a plant-based diet can yield brain-boosting results, particularly in older populations. In concentrated doses, the benefits of blueberries can be seen in just a few short weeks. Adding more fruits and vegetables to one’s diet can potentially provide even more benefits, as further research on the subject surfaces.