A new study shows that blueberries, a popular small fruit, can reduce the risk of dementia, a brain disease that causes disability and dependency in the elderly.
Dementia is a syndrome that affects memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform daily activities.
Although dementia primarily affects older people, it is not a normal aging process and is the result of a number of disease factors. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and can account for 60-70% of cases. Alzheimer’s disease, like all chronic diseases of the aging process, develops over a period of years from middle age.
While some risk factors for dementia cannot be changed, several other risk factors can be changed, one of which is diet. New research has identified a small fruit like blueberries that may help reduce disease risk.
The antioxidants in blueberries help reduce the risk of brain diseases
According to scientists, blueberries contain polyphenolic compounds, especially anthocyanins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, anthocyanins have been linked to increased neuronal signaling in brain centers (which are involved in memory function), as well as improved glucose disposal. These are the expected benefits of minimizing neurodegeneration.
A team of scientists led by Dr. Robert Krikorian of the University of California looked at blueberry supplementation in people ages 50 to 56; found that daily consumption of blueberries confers neurocognitive benefits in patients with overweight, prediabetes, and dementia.
Dr. Robert Krikorian said: “In previous studies, we have also seen cognitive benefits of blueberries in older adults.
In the study, subjects were asked to abstain from other berries for a period of 12 weeks. During this time, they consume powdered cranberry supplements daily by mixing them with water and drinking them with breakfast or dinner.
The researchers tested their cognitive abilities and found that those in the blueberry group saw control-related cognitive improvements. This suggests that blueberries may help reduce the risk of dementia in some people.
Despite their small size, each of these berries is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants…offering a variety of potential health benefits.