According to recent studies, eating a handful of blueberries daily may help with improved brain function and lowering blood pressure.
Increasing numbers of scientific studies are indicating that incorporating blueberries into your diet could be an easy way to make positive changes for your long-term health. In today’s post, we will go through the potential effects of eating blueberries on your physical and mental well-being, providing you with compelling evidence gathered from recent research studies.
One of the most recent studies touting blueberries’ benefits was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and involved researchers from King’s and the University of Reading. It analyzed the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 61 healthy men and women aged 65 to 80 who consumed a beverage made with 26 grams of freeze-dried wild blueberry powder (the equivalent of about 178 grams of whole berries). The control group drank a matching placebo group.
Over the twelve weeks, researchers found that participants who consumed the berry power in drinks had better memory and improved accuracy on attention tasks. They also had lower blood pressure compared to the placebo group. This group was also found to have increased flow-mediated dilation (FMD), leading to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
This study is the first of its kind and helps to bolster previous studies in suggesting that a daily intake of wild blueberries could help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and improving blood vessel function.
Previous studies had found potential advantages to consuming blueberries, but this study went further by analyzing how a certain amount of dietary blueberry consumption could benefit cognitive and cardiovascular health simultaneously.
Researchers believe the blue pigments in blueberries called anthocyanins are behind the effects as their metabolites were found in the participants’ urine after the 12-week consumption. These polyphenols are also present in other foods, such as raspberries, strawberries, red grapes, and purple vegetables.
Professor Claire Williams, Chair of the Neuroscience Department for University of Reading, said, “It’s clear from this study that consuming wild blueberries is beneficial to cognitive function and vascular health. The group who had the wild blueberry powder showed signs of better memory and greater mental flexibility when completing cognitive tasks. This is consistent with what we already know about the health benefits of anthocyanin-rich foods. It points to an important role of polyphenols in healthy aging.”
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