We know a diet rich in variety, fruits and veggies is good for us. And while we hate to use the term ‘superfood’, blueberries are powered with nutrients for the body and, as it turns out, brain.
The term ‘superfood’ gets thrown around a lot, but if we were to pick a snack that may just deserve this title, it’s blueberries.
High in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, this mighty little fruit can provide benefits for our gut, support weight loss, and may even help lower blood pressure. But they’re also shown to be of great benefit for your brain, too.
“It’s no surprise that memory starts to deteriorate as we age, but it’s looking like blueberries may help support our memory,” says Dr. Tal Friedman, head naturopath and research and development specialist at wellness retreat, Chiva-Som.
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“When wild blueberry juice was supplemented for 12 weeks to older adults, it improved their memory function significantly.”
In another study, Dr. Friedman points out, freeze-dried blueberry powder was given to participants aged over 68 with mild cognitive impairment aged 68 and at the end of a 16-week study, their memory had improved along with better cognitive performance and overall brain function. How is this possible?
“One of the more unique ways that blueberries have been shown to improve brain health is by increasing something called BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor). BDNF helps to ensure the survival of existing brain cells and tissues, as well as to promote the growth and proliferation of new neurons,” explains Dr. Friedman.
“Studies have shown that adding blueberries to your diet can increase the birth rate of brain cells in the hippocampus – the brain region responsible for memory.”
When it comes to whether fresh, freeze-dried, or frozen is better, the beauty is that they’re not treated or blanched before being frozen so either is equally great for you.
“A 2004 study in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology found that drying and freezing blueberries have no impact on the antioxidant activity of anthocyanin. So pick whichever kind of blueberries you have available to you,” says Dr. Friedman.
As we’ve previously reported, you can healthily eat an entire punnet of blueberries to yourself, just remember to give some love to the other colours on the food rainbow, too.