Blueberries are the new brain food. A study from United Kingdom scientists found that the super food might play an important role in treating — or even preventing — dementia.
The University of Exeter looked at how concentrated blueberry juice affected the brains of adults between 65 and 77 years old — ages that come with a risk of dementia. In the very small study of 26 healthy adults, 12 drank 30 ml of concentrated blueberry juice (the equivalent of 230 grams of berries) daily while 14 received a placebo. The trial went on for 12 weeks.
Subjects took cognitive tests during an MRI scan that monitored brain function and resting brain blood flow. Researchers found that blueberry juice drinkers had a significant increase in brain activity, blood flow and even memory compared to subjects who received the placebo.
This new study builds on past researching showing that dementia risk is reduced by eating more fruits and vegetables. Researchers believe we can thank flavonoids, a type of nutrient found in plants that are rich in antioxidants, for this benefit.
“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,” says study co-author Dr. Joanna Bowtell, Ph.D, in a statement.
Blueberries were chosen because they’re rich in flavonoids. Previous studies have shown that though small, the fruit packs a powerful nutritional punch. According to Greatist, one cup of blueberries contains 14 percent of your daily fiber recommendations. The health site also reports that the fruit has been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol but faster metabolisms.
Need more reasons to include them in your diet? Blueberries can help with slimmer waistlines, too. A study from the University of Michigan found that eating berries may help lose abdominal fat, writes WebMD. While the study was done on lab rats, many health professionals believe that adding blueberries in your diet is just a good idea.