A recent study suggests that the consumption of blueberries can improve memory in older adults and may offer an alternative treatment for cognitive decline.
Blueberries, which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals known as anthocyanins, have long been thought to boost memory in the aged. However, this is one of the first studies to examine the fruit’s memory-enhancing effect on humans.
Scientists at the University of Cincinnati and the U.S. Department of Agriculture studied a group of volunteers with a median age of 70 who were suffering from early stage cognitive decline.
Study participants drank the equivalent of two cups of commercially available blueberry juice each day for a two-month period, while a control group consumed a placebo beverage.
Researchers found that patients who drank the fruit juice on a daily basis showed significant improvement on memory and learning tests as well as evidence of enhanced neuronal signaling.
"These preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration," concluded the authors of the study.
The researchers added that more comprehensive human trials need to be conducted to study the preventative potential of blueberries.