It’s not just the proverbial daily apple that has positive health effects. A daily serving of blueberries can also bring benefits. This is shown by a current study by the University of Cincinnati in the USA, published in the specialist magazine nutrients has appeared.
Researchers found that daily consumption of blueberries in certain middle-aged individuals may reduce their chances of later developing dementia. According to the study, blueberries have a high content of micronutrients and antioxidants, including so-called anthocyanins. These are Plant pigments that give blueberries their blue color. They protect the berries from excessive exposure to radiation, infectious agents, and other threats, writes study author Robert Krikorian.
The same properties that help blueberries survive also provide benefits for humans. According to Krikorian, they reduce inflammation, improve metabolism and increase energy production in cells.
Half a cup of blueberries
The current study involved 33 patients in the Cincinnati area, ages 50 to 65, who were overweight and prediabetic—that is, they had developed insulin resistance. In addition, a slight decline in memory was noticed in them with increasing age. These factors indicate an increased risk of dementia in old age and other common chronic diseases.
Patients were asked to abstain from consuming any type of berry over a 12-week period other than a daily pack of dietary supplements. This was a powder mixed with water and taken either with breakfast or dinner. Half of the participants received powder equivalent to half a cup of blueberries. The other half received a placebo.
The participants were repeatedly tested for those cognitive abilities that typically decline in patients with senile dementia. According to the researchers, the blueberry group showed improvements in cognitive tasks. They also had lower fasting insulin levels, meaning they had improved metabolic function and were more likely to convert fat into energy.
Since the number of people examined was relatively small, further studies are needed to confirm the effect of blueberries, the researchers admit. “In the meantime, it might be a good idea to consume blueberries on a regular basis,” said author Krikorian.
The study can here be read.