By Dr. Leo Galland

Blueberry Benefits - Increase Your Memory with the Blueberry?

You know that blueberries are good for you.

 

But did you know that there is research that says blueberries could help fight aging, combat disease, lower blood pressure, protect the heart and brain, and even increase your memory?

 

Research on Blueberry Benefits

 

Intensive research by scientists working in the U.S. and Canada, in Europe and in Asia, continues to reveal blueberries’ health benefits.

 

The blueberry is divided into two major species: wild blueberries are called "low bush" and the farmed blueberries are "high bush". Both types of blueberry have received a great deal of favorable attention from scientists over the past several years.

 

Blueberries Increase Memory in Study

 

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center achieved very interesting results when they studied the connection between blueberries and memory. Their study on older adults with early memory decline found that memory function was increased by drinking the juice of wild blueberries for a period of 12 weeks. The University of Cincinnati researchers noted: "To our knowledge, this is the first human trial assessing the potential benefit of blueberry supplementation on neurocognitive function in older adults with increased risk for dementia."

 

It should be noted that this blueberry study involved a small group who consumed blueberry juice with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Given the interest in finding solutions to the growing problem of cognitive decline in aging, larger studies on blueberries and the mind should follow.

 

Beyond the blueberry: learn more about keeping the mind healthy in Benefits of Walking for Brain Health

 

What Gives the Blueberry Its Nutritional Power

 

Blueberries are a source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and fiber. The color of blueberries, from deep blue to purple, is caused by a group of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which give the blueberry its remarkable antioxidant power.

 

Laboratory tests suggest that anthocyanins from fruit such as the blueberry may help to prevent degenerative diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and memory loss.

 

Blueberry anthocyanins protect humans and animals from the effects of a condition known as oxidative stress, which underlies the common disorders associated with aging. Oxidative stress increases with high fat meals and with exposure to environmental toxins.

 

Learn more about the benefits of anthocyanins in Cherry Season: Fight Pain and Inflammation.

 

Blueberries Support Heart Health

 

Recent research supported by the United States Department of Agriculture-Research, Education, and Economics shows that eating blueberries may help combat cardiovascular disease.

 

Scientists at the University of Arkansas fed mice a diet enhanced with blueberry powder, and found that it helped reduce atherosclerosis.

 

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Nutrition, the researchers indicate that the benefit may be from the antioxidant effect of the blueberries, reducing the oxidative stress that leads to heart disease.

 

Learn more about this fascinating blueberry study, in English and Spanish, here: Nature’s Little Blue "Pills" Fight Heart Disease

 

Here’s what eating blueberries can do for oxidative stress:

 

When healthy volunteers ate blueberry powder along with a high fat meal, the blueberries produced a significant increase in the antioxidant status of their blood, compared to the high fat meal alone.

 

When mice stressed by aging or by toxins were fed blueberries at a dose that would equal one cup a day for a human, their brains revealed a decrease in damage from oxidative stress. Blueberry-fed mice performed better than "control" mice (not fed blueberries) on tests of learning, memory and coordination.

 

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) with Blueberry

 

Like their cousins, cranberries, blueberries contain flavonoids that can prevent urinary tract infection. Blueberry flavonoids prevent bacteria that cause urinary infections from binding to the lining of the bladder and can even inhibit the growth of bacteria.

 

Research on Blueberries and Cancer and Cholesterol

 

In addition to fighting oxidative stress, eating blueberries may help to prevent cancer and heart disease through other mechanisms.

 

Blueberry anthocyanins have shown the potential to help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells in research studies.

 

A group of chemicals that are found in blueberries called stilbenes have cholesterol-lowering effects.

 

I hope you enjoy the healthy pleasure and benefits of blueberries now and throughout the year. (Learn: How To Enjoy Blueberries)

 

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Do you enjoy blueberries?

Where do you shop for blueberries?

How do you usually eat them?

 

Please let me know your thoughts on the blueberry by posting a comment below.

 

Best Health,

Leo Galland, MD

 

Important: Share the Health with your friends and family by forwarding this article to them, and sharing on Facebook.

 

References and Further Reading

 

J Nutr. 2010 Sep;140(9):1628-32. Epub 2010 Jul 21. "Dietary blueberries attenuate atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice by upregulating antioxidant enzyme expression." Wu X, Kang J, Xie C, Burris R, Ferguson ME, Badger TM, Nagarajan S. USDA Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA.

 

Nutr Rev. 2010 Mar;68(3):168-77. "Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health." Basu A, Rhone M, Lyons TJ. Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University (OSU), Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-6141, USA.

 

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Jun;51(6):652-64. "Cranberry and blueberry: evidence for protective effects against cancer and vascular diseases." Neto CC. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, MA 02747, USA.

 

Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2010 Apr;45(4):422-9."Chemical principles and bioactivities of blueberry" Chen CF, Li YD, Xu Z. Institute of Pharmacology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.

 

Behav Brain Res. 2009 Mar 17;198(2):352-8. Epub 2008 Nov 17. "Effect of a polyphenol-rich wild blueberry extract on cognitive performance of mice, brain antioxidant markers and acetylcholinesterase activity." Papandreou MA, Dimakopoulou A, Linardaki ZI, Cordopatis P, Klimis-Zacas D, Margarity M, Lamari FN. Laboratory of Human & Animal Physiology, Department of Biology, University of Patras, Greece.

 

Neurobiol Aging. 2006 Feb;27(2):344-50. "Blueberry supplemented diet reverses age-related decline in hippocampal HSP70 neuroprotection." Galli RL, Bielinski DF, Szprengiel A, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA. Neuroscience Laboratory, USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111, USA.

 

Br J Nutr. 2002 Oct;88(4):389-98. "The effect of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption on postprandial serum antioxidant status in human subjects." Kay CD, Holub BJ. Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

 

J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14;58(7):3996-4000.

"Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults." Krikorian R, Shidler MD, Nash TA, Kalt W, Vinqvist-Tymchuk MR, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA. Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0559, USA.

 

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Dec 13;54(25):9329-39."Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extracts inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro." Seeram NP, Adams LS, Zhang Y, Lee R, Sand D, Scheuller HS, Heber D. Center for Human Nutrition, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

 

Chin Med J (Engl). 2010 Oct;123(19):2714-9. "Anthocyanins extracted from Chinese blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum L.) and its anticancer effects on DLD-1 and COLO205 cells." Zu XY, Zhang ZY, Zhang XW, Yoshioka M, Yang YN, Li J. Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Tsukuba University, Tsukuba 305-8572, Japan.

 

Full Text: "Diet and Inflammation" Leo Galland, MD, Nutr Clin Pract December 7, 2010 vol. 25 no. 6 634-640

 

Power Healing: Use the New Integrated Medicine to Cure Yourself. Leo Galland, 384 pages, Random House, (June 1, 1998)

 

This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine or the provision of health care diagnosis or treatment, (iii) or the creation of a physician–patient relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.

 

One Response to “Blueberry Benefits – Increase Your Memory with the Blueberry?”

  1. L Pepper says:

    Wonderful information! I grow my own blueberries. I eat them from the bush and freeze some for future. When I run out I buy frozen organic ones. Thank you for your helpful information

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