Blueberry powder found to prevent age-related cognitive decline
(NaturalHealth365) The blueberry has long been known as a superfood that’s loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and health-boosting compounds. Now recent research conducted by Erin L. Boespflug and colleagues is showing the benefits of blueberries also extend to preventing and even reversing cognitive decline associated with aging.
The research showed significantly raised neural responses and activity in older individuals who took blueberry powder daily over 16 weeks. The study was conducted as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, and the results were published in the February 2017 issue of Nutritional Neuroscience.
Blueberry research reveals good news for those concerned about dementia
The subjects were all between the ages of 68 and 92 years old, and all demonstrated mild cognitive impairment (MCI) related to aging at the beginning of the study. The subjects all consumed freeze-dried blueberry powder over the course of the 16 week study period. After the trial, the positive difference of consuming blueberries was clear.
The study participants with MCI did not have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or any other neurological conditions. For the trial, a control group received a placebo powder. The other group received a blueberry powder supplement daily that was measure do provide the equivalent of 1 cup of blueberry fruit (taken twice daily).
Before and after the 16 week study period, the subjects were given functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a task that engaged their working memory. This was done to help measure, track and evaluate any changes that occurred in brain functioning following the study.
Untreated, mild cognitive impairment can lead to Alzheimer’s disease
After the 16 week study period, the researchers found that the persons who received the blueberry powder (versus placebo) showed significant improvements to blood oxygen level in the brain and dependent signaling in three specific regions. By contrast, those who received the placebo powder showed decreased brain activity in one region.
Those eating the equivalent of one cup of blueberries per day also showed memory improvements.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) refers to a condition where cognitive functioning has declined to a level that’s considered inferior to levels associated with the normal aging process. MCI is linked with a significantly higher risk of eventually developing various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Conventionally speaking, at this time, there are no effective drug treatments available for treating dementia, so prevention is always the best defense.
The benefits of blueberries get validated by science
The researchers believe these results prove and support past data that shows flavonoid compounds like those found in blueberries help to improve vascular functioning in the brain. Keep in mind, the flavonoids, antioxidant compounds and phytochemicals in blueberries have also been linked with cancer prevention.
No doubt, these study results also show a definitive, direct correlation between eating blueberries and a reversal of the signs of cognitive decline. Bottom line: the pharmaceutical industry is no match for the power of nutrition – especially when it comes to healing the body and avoiding disease symptoms.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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