They can even fight dementia in the long term
A blueberry smoothie at breakfast can stop your powers of concentration waning in the afternoon – and can even help fight dementia in the long term, new research suggests.
The study found that just one 200g blueberry smoothie was enough to increase powers of concentration by as much as 20 per cent over the day, while regular consumption of the fruit could lead to a rewiring of a part of the brain that is linked to memory.
The findings of the study, reported at the British Science Festival, add to the growing reputation of blueberries as the super-food of super-foods. The fruit, which is an anti-oxidant, has already been linked to lower heart disease and cancer rates, as well as anti-ageing.
But Dr Jeremy Spencer, a molecular nutritionist at the University of Reading, who carried out the latest study, believes its affect on the mind is less to do with its antioxidant properties and more to do with its ability to increase the blood flow to your brain.
Special chemicals in the fruit, known as flavonoids, open up blood vessels allowing increased blood flow and a reduction of blood pressure. The effect is improved cognitive performance in the short term, and a healthier brain in the long term.
‘I think that the findings were impressive and have the potential in the long term to lead to cognitive improvement,’ he stated.
Research will now concentrate on the long term effects of eating blueberries and particularly their effect on the hippocampus, the part of the brain related to memory.
Dr Spencer believes that flavonoid rich foods, which also include chocolate, spinach and some fruit juices, can re-structure the brain and ward off memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s.