By Mark Lange, PhD
In a study, healthy people aged 65-77 who drank concentrated blueberry juice showed improvement in cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and activation of the brain while carrying out cognitive tests. Cognitive function tends to decline as we age, but a diet rich in plant-based foods has been shown to preserve it. Consuming foods such as cocoa, pomegranate and oranges also show similar benefits and are all rich sources of flavonoids.
Of the 26 participants in the study, half were given concentrated blueberry juice – providing the equivalent of 230 grams of blueberries – once a day for 12 weeks. Compared to the placebo group, those who took the blueberry juice showed significant increases in brain activity in areas related to the tests. The mechanism of these effects is likely to be related to improved availability of the potent vasodilator, nitric oxide in the vasculature.
Reference: Bowtell, J.L., et al. Enhanced task related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolish. 2017: DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0550