If you ask me, blueberries are the most superior berry. Their sweet with a hint of tart flavor makes them perfect for topping a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal or blending into a smoothie. While these berries shine on their own taste-wise, they also pack a nutritional punch — with research showing they can even boost brain health.
A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition wanted to see how regular blueberry consumption could improve cognition in adults. This study included 13 men and 24 women who were between the ages of 60 and 75 years old. Participants were asked to either eat 24 grams of freeze-dried blueberries (the equivalent to a cup of fresh blueberries) or a blueberry placebo every day for 90 days. Researchers measured their balance, gait or walking pattern, and cognitive abilities at the beginning and after 45 and 90 days.
The study authors found that those who consumed the blueberries each day showed fewer errors when taking cognitive tests compared to the placebo group. This is because of a flavonoid naturally found in blueberries called anthocyanins. This nutritional compound has been linked with helping to sharpen memory because of its anti-inflammatory properties to protect brain cells against aging. The blueberries weren’t shown to directly improve gait or balance, but researchers were hopeful about the fruit’s ability to positively impact brain health.
While this is a 2017 study, co-author Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PhD, tells Woman’s World that the cognitive benefits of blueberries from the findings are still very much important for older adults to know. “Bottom line is still true — findings show that the addition of easily achievable quantities of blueberry to the diets of older adults can improve some aspects of cognition,” she says.
It’s clear that blueberries should be a staple in your diet if you want to keep your brain healthy as time goes on. Beyond eating them on their own, we’ve got you covered if you need more ideas on how you can add them to your daily diet.
3 Ways to Add Blueberries to Your Diet
Whether you’re buying them fresh or getting them frozen, blueberries can go in plenty of recipes. Here are three ways you can eat them for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or as an on-the-go treat.
Add blueberries to your breakfast. Top blueberries on oatmeal in the morning with a sprinkle of cinnamon. The antioxidants from the blueberries as well as the cinnamon will help ward off inflammation and eliminate cell-damaging free radicals that could lead to a condition like dementia.
Enjoy these berries as an afternoon snack. Mix them with cottage cheese or yogurt as the dairy allows your body to absorb the blueberry’s nutrients better. While you’re at it, feel free to sprinkle it with some granola and honey for added sweetness.
Take blueberries on-the-go. Blueberries can be blended alongside fruits and veggies including strawberries or kale to make a delicious smoothie. You can use frozen blueberries if they’re not in-season, which means you won’t need to add ice cubes to make a refreshing drink.
Eating more blueberries for better brain health sounds like a win-win situation to me!