New research indicates that blueberries equivalent to half of a cup, consumed as freeze-dried powder, can help middle-aged individuals against cognitive decline when implemented early.
Published in the journal Nutrients, the study was supported by funding from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. The new research builds on previous studies that demonstrated improvement in long-term memory performance with blueberry supplementation in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. The research also supports previous research that found an association between blueberry consumption and improved metabolic function in at-risk individuals, such as an improvement in insulin sensitivity, according to a news release.
“This is the first study of its kind to look at blueberry supplementation in middle-aged individuals at risk for future health problems and late-life dementia,” Robert Krikorian, the study’s lead investigator and a professor at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, said in the release. “Importantly, this research provides evidence that blueberry supplementation can improve cognitive function and correct high insulin levels in these participants with prediabetes.”
Further research is needed to look at blueberry supplementation over a longer time period, researchers said.
Based on these findings, the study authors suggest that the potential mechanisms for the health benefits of blueberries may be associated with anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, the bioactive flavonoid compounds found in blueberries responsible for their vibrant blue color.
“While further studies are warranted, our results provide novel and exciting data regarding the potential of blueberry supplementation as a preventive intervention,” Krikorian said.
With Brain Health Month on the horizon in June, tailored resources from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council are available now in the Brain Health toolkit, according to the release. That toolkit includes social media content and digital ads, tip sheets, a research deep-dive, recipes, blueberry images and more.
More information on blueberry nutrition research is available at blueberrycouncil.org/health-professionals/health-research/.