Why New Research Says Older Adults Benefit From Eating Wild Blueberries Daily
As we get older, minding our brain health is essential to maintaining optimal cognitive function, which includes things like focus, memory, and reaction time. And according to new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition1, there's one superstar fruit that can help your brain and your heart. Here's what they found.
Studying the brain on blueberries.
Blueberries have long been considered a "superfood," rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, phytoflavinoids, potassium, and more. So for this study, researchers wanted to dig deeper into just how much blueberries can benefit the health of aging populations.
To do so, they rounded up participants between the ages of 65 and 80 and had one group consume a blueberry beverage that was the equivalent of roughly a cup's-worth of wild blueberries, while the other group consumed a placebo beverage. The participants drank their respective drinks for 12 weeks.
Throughout the course of the study, those consuming the true blueberry drink saw improvement in memory, improved accuracy on attention tasks, and even lower blood pressure. The same could not be said for the placebo group, who did not reap the same benefits.
As study co-author Claire Williams Ph.D., explains in a news release, "It's clear from this study that consuming wild blueberries is beneficial to cognitive function, as well as vascular health. The group who had the wild blueberry powder showed signs of better memory and greater mental flexibility when completing cognitive tasks."
Other ways to support cognition and memory in older age
If you're looking to protect your brain as you age, blueberries are just one simple solution of many to ensure your brain gets the support it needs. Beyond your daily handful of wild blueberries, other nutrients like resveratrol, omega-3s, high-quality protein, fiber, and antioxidants are great things to incorporate more in your diet.
And don't discount the profound effect sleep hygiene2, staying active3, and challenging your brain4 can have on brain health overall as well. (All of these things have been found in research to improve cognitive function.)
Lastly—and lucky for us and our brains—there are lots of quality supplements available today for boosting brain health, like ones that include ingredients such as kanna, citicoline, and omega-3s. Check out our full guide to the best supplements for memory, as well as the best omega-3 supplements, for our top picks.
And while you're at it, take a peek at our full guide to supporting cognitive health for more information and tips.
The older we get, the more important it is to prioritize brain health. Luckily, a handful of wild blueberries a day isn't too much to ask, especially when paired with other brain-boosting strategies like getting quality sleep, exercising regularly, and taking a quality, brain-forward supplement.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.