Blueberries & The Brain

Mini but Mighty!

Blueberries might be mini, but they’re definitely mighty! These berries are rich in phytochemicals such as anthocyanin, fibre as well as vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and manganese.

Let’s not forget anthocyanins…

The main antioxidant compound found in blueberries are known as anthocyanins. This is what gives blueberries their deep blue colour. Anthocyanins belong to a large family of polyphenols called flavonoids. Anthocyanins are the main reason behind why blueberries are receiving so much attention for their health benefits.

What benefits could blueberries have?

Blueberries have been investigated for many reasons. It is thought that their habitual consumption over time could be linked to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and ageing. For example, a 2010 review by Basu et al. examined the effect of blueberries and strawberries on cardiovascular health outcomes. Based off the epidemiological and clinical studies they examined, they concluded that habitual intake of berries was linked to improvements into risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high concentrations of LDL-cholesterol, high blood lipids as well as improvements in total plasma antioxidant capacity. All of these factors contribute to a reduction in risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This highlights the fact that including blueberries daily can have heart-healthy benefits.

What about blueberries and the brain?

Another key area of interest is into the effect of habitual consumption of blueberries on the brain, specifically on memory and cognitive decline. It is now generally accepted that blueberries may have a potential nootropic effect.

The effect of consumption on cognitive decline in older adults has been studied. A 2010 study in older adults examined the effect of daily consumption of blueberry juice for 12 weeks (1). They found that was associated with improvements in verbal learning and memory. They also found that improvements occurred in blood glucose and insulin levels.