Can blueberries even prevent dementia? The study gives hope

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Many healing properties are attributed to the fruits of the blueberry. A study from England shows that regular consumption can even improve cognitive performance. © blickwinkel / Imago Images

Many people swear by the healing properties of blueberries. Now a study indicates that fruits have a positive effect on the brain.

Norwich – Bilberry has made a name for itself in homeopathy, especially as a miracle cure for bladder infections – if you don’t want to resort to antibiotics right away if there are mild signs of a urinary tract infection, you can first try fighting symptoms with plenty of water and cranberry juice or capsules.

And indeed: An evaluation published in March 2022 by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWIG) shows that cranberry preparations as herbal medicinal products can often prevent recurrent infections of the bladder. But that is not all that blueberry can do for our health.

Researchers at King’s College London found in a study that daily consumption of cranberry powder significantly improves cardiovascular and vascular functions in adult men. The results of the study were published in March 2022 in the English-language journal Food & Function. After the positive effect on the heart and kidneys, experts in Great Britain have now also examined the connection between the “superfood” cranberry and cognitive performance.

Health: Blueberry study examines effects on brain and cognitive performance

In their study, experts from the University of East Anglia examined how blueberry consumption affects cognitive and neural functions in older adults. They published their results in the journal Frosters in Nutrition. After all, one of the biggest fears people have is losing a crucial part of their cognitive abilities as they age, possibly even developing dementia and eventually forgetting things that mean a lot to them.

Scientists assume that diet, among other things, is a factor that each and every individual can influence to protect themselves from this process or to slow it down. Certain dietary components, and in particular (poly)phenol-rich fruits such as berries, are increasingly recognized for their protection against age-related neurodegeneration.

In the study, a total of 60 subjects between the ages of 50 and 80 who did not have any cognitive disorders were divided into two groups. The experts analyzed the consumption of blueberries during a period of twelve weeks to determine brain function and cholesterol levels. While a test group took daily freeze-dried blueberry powder, which corresponded to the amount of approximately 100 grams of fresh blueberries, the control group only consumed a placebo. Before and after the observation period, the participants underwent cognitive tests, after which they each had to give a blood sample.

Health study: Blueberries in the daily diet strengthen the heart, intestines and brain

The result of the study is satisfactory: the inclusion of blueberries in the daily diet can improve memory and general cognitive performance, as well as having positive effects on the heart and intestinal flora. In addition to the benefits for neural function and blood supply to the brain, known as cerebral perfusion, unhealthy or “bad” LDL cholesterol was lowered.

Therefore, the study forms a crucial basis for future studies. Scientists could now investigate the efficacy of blueberries in relation to neurological diseases. And: its possibilities to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.

“The significant decrease in LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, which contributes to atherosclerosis, a thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by the buildup of plaque in an artery, supports the idea that blueberries promote vascular health and help improve cerebral blood pressure, blood flow and cognition may contribute. The results of this study are very encouraging, especially considering that relatively brief ingestion of blueberries resulted in significant improvements in memory and neuronal function,” he said. lead researcher Dr David Vauzour of the UEA Medical School in Norwich, UK.

Blueberry Study: Previous Analysis Showed Health Benefits

Participants who consumed the cranberry powder reported a significant improvement in episodic memory performance, “combined with improved circulation of essential nutrients such as oxygen and glucose to key parts of the brain that support cognition, particularly consolidation and retrieval.” of memory,” Dr. Vauzour reported in a news release.

As the study author explained, previous analyzes had already shown that flavonoids (plant substances) in the diet were associated with a slower decline in cognitive performance. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins found in berries, which give them their red or purple color, may also improve memory. Blueberries also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (tk/iwe)

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