by J. D. Heyes, Natural News:
Blueberries are just one of the “superfoods” nature has blessed us with. There are so many wonderful qualities and health benefits to eating more blueberries that they are almost too numerous to count.
Besides being packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, research shows that blueberries are excellent stress relievers and can add significantly to brain health.
In fact, they may even work to keep dementia and Alzheimer’s disease at bay.
Though the reason why those conditions develop is still largely a mystery to scientists, one thing is for sure: Those seeking to thwart it should turn to organic blueberries for assistance.
It’s a big deal, because, as participants in the upcoming free online Alzheimer’s and Dementia Summit that runs from July 25-August 1 will learn, dementia and Alzheimer’s is on the rise. A person is diagnosed with the condition once every three seconds. And since dementia starts in the brain 30 to 50 years before symptoms appear, it’s important to learn how to prevent the onset of dementia at the summit.
Robert Krikorian, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati, recently conducted a study of 47 people who were aged 68 and older, and who had already been diagnosed with mild levels of cognitive impairment. These are defined as slight lapses in memory that may or may not later develop into dementia.
In his study, Krikorian gave some participants a powder concentrated from the amount of blueberries that would fill a teacup, while other study participants were given a placebo. Each of the test participants was subjected to mental tests that honed in on thinking and memory skills – two of the brain functions that are most often affected by dementia – as the study was being launched and again at its conclusion.
Subjects who consumed the blueberry powder displayed great improvement in their cognitive abilities when compared to the group taking the placebo. Krikorian’s findings were supported by brain scans that showed more activity in the group that had consumed the blueberry powder.
The researchers say that those whose cognitive functions improved, more than likely benefited from anthocyanins contained in blueberries, the chemicals that give the fruit its deep blue-purple coloring. Scientists involved in the study believe that the compound influences the brain by reducing inflammation, boosting the flow of blood and making it simpler for cells to communicate with each other.
Krikorian said that the study’s findings were in line with earlier studies involving both humans and animals. He noted that in future studies he is planning to focus on men and women in their 50s and early 60s who have been deemed to be at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
The scientist further emphasized how important it is for people to begin incorporating more blueberries into their diet as they approach middle age, because research indicates that the condition could begin affecting one’s brain decades before the first symptoms ever present. And while researchers don’t yet know at what amount blueberries’ protective effects begin, Krikorian believes that eating the fruit several times per week will do the trick.
A team of researchers from the University of Reading and Peninsula Medical School in England conducted a similar study. It, too, showed improved performances in spatial working tasks after just three weeks of a three-month study involving the supplementation of a regular diet with blueberries.
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