Commonly referred to as a "super fruit," blueberries have made headlines again: According to recent research, drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older people.
In a study from the University of Exeter, published in journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism -- healthy people ages 65-77 who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day showed improvements in cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and brain activity while carrying out cognitive tests.
There was also evidence that suggested the blueberry juice improved working memory.
Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, which posses antioxidants and anti-imflammatory properties. According to the study flavonoids, which are found in an abundance of plants, and are likely to play an important role in causing these effects.
"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, the head of Sport and health Sciences at University of Exeter.
"In this study we have shown that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30-milliliters 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."
Of the 12 healthy adults who participated in the study, 12 were given blueberry juice -- the equivalent to 230-grams of blueberries -- once a day, while the 14 others received a placebo.
Participants were tested before and after the 12-week period and researchers found that compared the placebo group, those who drank the concentrated blueberry juice showed significant increases in brain activity during the tests.
Researchers excluded anyone that said they ate more than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and all participants were required to stick to their normal diet throughout the study.
Research over the years has shown that the risk of dementia is reduced when older adults eat more fruits and vegetables. Researchers have also found that cognitive function is better and lasts longer in healthy older adults with a diet rich in plant-based foods.
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