Blueberries For Memory. Favorite Superfood Winning Against Dementia:
Many times, we can all hear about some kind of new hack or “Old Wives’ Tale” that we’re not sure about.
Sometimes it’s a checkout-lane diet, insane celebrity rumor, or just a fad.
You hear that this new thing is supposed to deliver results, but over time the story could seem to run out of legs.
But what really helps reinforce something that’s hard to believe is ongoing evidence from !SCIENCE!
And one of the recommendations in the HT post on Dr. Neal Barnard’s superfoods for your brain just got another big research boost…
The Short Answer:
- Supporting evidence from scientific study is important for health & nutrition hacks.
- A new study lends more credence to Dr. Neal Barnard’s list of superfoods for the brain.
- Hippocrates was right about getting medicine from your food.
- A previous study showed cardiovascular benefits for the heart from blueberries.
- What’s good for the heart tends to be good for the brain.
- A small study of 33 subjects showed memory improvements for middle-aged people who consumed the equivalent of 1/2 cup of blueberries/day.
- The main areas of improvement were vocabulary, recall, and memory-formation.
- Since the heart study used 1 cup of blueberries/day, it’s interesting to think how much better these subjects might have done on that dose.
- The subjects in the current study also experienced better metabolism, insulin, and anti-aging effects.
- These are pretty amazing results for something that is not a prescription medication, and has no side-effects.
- In a similar study, Cranberry powder has been found to increase visual memory, brain circulation, and lower “bad” cholesterol.
- The powder is probably important for cranberry supplementation as Ocean Spray Craisins have too much sugar.
- Another study found that grapes have also been found to lower cholesterol.
- That work also used powder, probably to avoid excessive sugar in the diet also.
- Blueberry, Cranberry, and Grape powders are all available online in organic form.
- Remember to buy organic when getting thin-skinned fruits & vegetables.
Read on to find out the details…
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Ancient Diet Recommendations Are Right Again!:
So, what’s old is new again.
And one of the oldest recommendations in health comes from the father of medicine, Hippocrates: “Let your food be [your] medicine and medicine be [your] food.”
That turns out to be right for many things we’re currently considering as actual superfoods.
Without a doubt, one of them is: Blueberries.
Previously, we did a post on the amazing cardiovascular benefits of a daily cup of blueberries.
And if you follow the relatively new adage, “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain.”,
You might not be surprised by the current study that backs up our old pal, Dr. Neal.
The Study Is Just Like A Blueberry. Small But Powerful:
In a small study of 33 subjects across 12 weeks, Dr. Robert Krikorian’s team at UC tested the effects of blueberry supplementation.
The subjects, aged about 50-65 were also overweight, prediabetic, and already experiencing Mild Cognitive Impairment.
The format consisted of subjects taking a small packet of powder in water at 1 meal of the day.
This was equal to about 1/2 cup of blueberries, except for the fiber you’d get from eating the whole fruit.
At the end of the 12-week period, the subjects were given cognitive tests that looked at executive function, working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control.
All of these are capacities that tend to decline in those who suffer from MCI and Dementia.
A Small Packet of Concentrate, Surprising Results For The Middle-Aged:
The standout stats from the results are as follows:
1) 99.7% of subjects had improved memory of vocabulary words.
2) 96% of subjects had improved ability to recall memories.
3) 97% of the subjects had an easier time forming memories as part of their daily lives.
All of these are pretty impressive, especially when you consider the previous study on the heart-health improvements from blueberries were dependent on dosage-by-weight.
And in that work, the subjects with the significant results were the ones eating 1 cup of blueberries/day, -but not the ones eating only 1/2 cup/day.
So given that the subjects in Dr. Robert’s study here were already having some kind of improvement in all these tasks on a smaller dose for their weight,
You’ve got to wonder how well they would have done on a full cup of blueberries each day!
Bonus: The Power Of Superfoods Continues To Amaze:
And while your doctor will probably be engaging in a newer version of Hippocrates statement,
Which is to recommend, along with the study results, that you get both your vitamins and your supplements from food instead of pills,
He or she might find the Bonus Results of this blueberry study even more impressive.
Because somehow mystically, the subjects taking the blueberry powder also had lower insulin levels and were more able to burn fat for energy!!!
How the hell does all that happen from a little berry?!!
Bonus II: Anti-Aging Benefits:
And in-addition to having a metabolism that was functioning better,
The blueberry subject also experienced a biochemical process that is associated with longer lifespan and lower oxidative-stress.
-Basically the exact-opposite of what the depressed & SAD sugar-consumers experienced over the holidays!
Strangely-enough, this particular type of improvement is at the heart of one of the cell-structures anti-aging researchers study like crazy: The Mitochondria.
-Will the amazing properties of blueberries never end?!!
Superfood Debunkers Be Damned. Blueberry Results Might Be Better Than Drugs:
So even though there has been a recent trend to try to debunk the entire idea of a “superfood”,
That is likely perpetrated by people from the early 2000s who overpaid on magical Açai weight-loss supplements,
I think, along with nuts, we can definitely put blueberries very squarely in the category of legit superfoods.
Just go ahead and try to find a prescription medication that does everything the Krikorian results report,
And does it without any side-effects. I’ll go ahead and wait.
Appendix I. It’s Not Just Blueberries That Help Memory:
But wait, there’s more!
Along with our new best friend, the blueberry, new study work is coming out on other humble produce-aisle residents, too!
Cranberries for example, have recently been found to improve:
1) Visual memory
2) Circulation in the brain
3) To also lower “Bad” cholesterol.
Some Berries Are More Problematic:
Now the subjects in that work were fortunate enough to take a powder supplement, just like the ones in Dr. Robert’s blueberry study.
Because the problem with Cranberries of course, is that they’re so tart, you have to add a ton of sugar to them to make them even palatable.
So if you get something like Ocean Spray’s “Craisins”, you’re going to be hurting yourself if you try to consume the fruit the way you could very easily do with blueberries.
What’s interesting about the cranberry work, other than the fact the study was [ahem] supported by a grant from The Cranberry Institute,
Is that according to the superpost on flavonoids, cranberries have 70% less anthocyanins than blueberries.
-So were the results from that study just a function of what was tested-for?
Or are Cranberries doing something else, that is also helpful in their own unique way?
So far, if you don’t want to blitz your diet’s glycemic-index on Ocean Spray Craisins,
It looks like the best & easiest way to get more cranberries in your diet is LOOV organic cranberry powder on Amazon.
-Pretty pricey, but maybe it’s worth it.
Appendix II. Another Berry-Like Fruit Has Great News, Too:
And if you thought that was weird, wait until you hear the new work out on… Grapes!
Because they’ve been maligned a few times recently as not much more than little bags of sugar.
Well, a recent UCLA Health study showed that 4 weeks of consuming the powdered fruit (just like the 2 previous studies),
Subjects’ gut microbes saw significant increases in 3 helpful strains that were barely there before.
And despite the appearance that those three crowded-out one of the strains from yogurt,
Something else amazing happened.
Improved Microbiome. Somehow Leads To Better Blood-Chemistry?:
The subjects all had improved cholesterol! -Both the good stuff and the bad stuff went down, (by 7.6% and about 6%, respectively)
This is all from 46g of powder that’s equivalent to about 1.5 cups of grapes per day.
The most interesting part of that study is there’s a good chance the benefits came from -a microbe- on the grapes that helps several different kinds of metabolism.
And even if that microbe didn’t change people’s body-fat levels over the 4 weeks, the effects on their health were looking pretty good!
Blueberries Are Still The King:
So while blueberries are looking like the unchallenged king of superfood berries,
There are certainly others that are looking helpful in their own ways, too.
The main problem now is getting the other fruits in either palatable form, or without all the sugar.
Luckily after looking at half a dozen grape products,
The best source for price so far seems to be the Organic Veda brand at about 50c/serving.
So now you have at-least two other sources for all your berry-based dietary witchcraft.
Hopefully, little hacks like these can keep us all healthier and happier for a long time into the future. -Which is what this site is all about!
PS: One little note about frozen blueberries or freeze-dried berry concentrate:
There is a good chance it makes them even more powerful for your health because the freezing process makes the anthocyanins more bioavailable, not less potent. (but to be fair, no word yet on any of the other magic compounds)
PPS: Make sure to buy organic for all thin-skinned fruits & produce because of the pesticides used.
References & Links:
• Source(s): UC | UEA | UCLA
• More Coverage: LOOV Cranberry Powder on Amazon | Organic Veda Grape Juice Powder | MicroIngredients Organic Blueberry Powder on Amazon
• Source Studies:
•Nutrients- Blueberry Supplementation in Midlife for Dementia Risk Reduction
•Frontiers In Nutr. – Chronic Consumption of Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) for 12 Weeks Improves Episodic Memory and Regional Brain Perfusion in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Groups Feasibility Study
•Nutrients – Effect of Standardized Grape Powder Consumption on the Gut Microbiome of Healthy Subjects: A Pilot Study
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