My brother-in-law believes that a natural approach to health – as a first line of defence – is nonsense… give him a pharmaceutical drug to ease any ills and he’s happy. Me? Well, I sit on completely the other side of the fence. I absolutely believe that nature knows best… and the latest study on how you can improve your brain function naturally proves that once again.
Blueberries benefit your brain
Research on the brain-boosting power of blueberries started about four years ago. Since then, numerous studies have shown how blueberries can help protect your brain. The latest study comes from the University of Exeter, which started the first “complementary/alternative” medicine programme in the UK a few years ago. The researchers measured brain function in 26 healthy men and women ages 65 to 77 using a range of standard cognitive tests. They also measured resting brain blood flow and monitored brain activity in memory centres with MRI imaging scans.
The participants were divided into two groups. The first group drank 30 millilitres of concentrated blueberry juice daily (the equivalent of eating 230 grams – or about a cup – of blueberries a day) for just 12 weeks. The second group were given a placebo drink.
After the 12 week period, the results showed that the blueberry juice group had improved brain function, blood flow to the brain, and activation of brain centres during cognitive testing. They also experienced improvements in working memory.
And these brain-boosting benefits may all be down to potent antioxidants called flavonoids, found in fresh fruit and vegetables, which are not only rich in nutrients but also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, numerous studies have shown that older adults who eat a plant-based diet have better brain function. The Exeter researchers focused on the brain-boosting power of blueberries, but they extended their conclusions to anyone eating more than five portions of fruits and vegetables per day.
While this a small study, it was by all means conducted efficiently and it showed dramatic results that do not require huge numbers of people to show statistical significance.
In fact, if I need to defend these results in the next conversation I have with my brother-in-law, I’ll quote Lord Rutherford, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry a century ago: “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.”
Talking about brain function and preserving your memory, Agora Health has recently been working closely with medical anthropologist and epidemiologist Dr Marc S. Micozzi on an exciting project. Keep an eye out for more information in next week’s Daily Health eAlerts. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Dr Marc S. Micozzi, click here.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation,” Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) 3/1/2017