New Study: Sprinkle Some Blueberries on Your Steak

There is so much mythology and misinformation about using good food to prevent disease that I am loathe to add to the lore, but I cannot ignore a recent study that suggests eating blueberries will improve your memory.

Blueberries already get more credit than they probably deserve for keeping you thinner; helping control diabetes; lowering blood pressure; inhibiting various cancers; helping digestion, preventing the formation of skin wrinkles; and, yes, even helping with erectile dysfunction.

I’m sure they’re a great food to keep in your diet, but don’t buy all the hype — a lot of research is begging to be done that hasn’t been done to confirm these ideas.

Bluberry Cake

New Study Suggests Eating Blueberries Will Improve Your Memory

A recent presentation to the American Chemical Society at its annual meeting by Dr. Robert Krikorian, a professor at the University of Cincinnati who runs the university’s Cognitive Aging Program, is so compelling it deserves highlighting even at the risk of hyping blueberries — yet again.

Krikorian’s Cognitive Aging Program runs a number of clinical trials focused on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in hopes of improving memory in middle-aged and older adults. The program doesn’t rule out anything, including diet, prescription drugs and supplements, in its quest to prevent “progression to dementia.” The team had previously published a paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry back in 2010 that showed cognitive improvement using blueberry juice in 12 adults.

There is a rich and deep body of literature in animal studies suggesting that blueberries can aid cognitive abilities. Two recent studies led by Krikorian suggest that a significant portion of blueberries once a day may help keep dementia away. Or not, because the studies are small and have not been replicated.

In the first study, 47 adults at least 68 years old with “mild cognitive impairment” were given blueberry powder once a day that equated to a cup of fresh berries, or they randomly got a placebo powder. Adults with “mild cognitive impairment” are known to be at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Subjects ate the freeze-dried berry powder for 16 weeks and were given a battery of cognitive tests before and after. The results were stunning, with 72% of those who ate the blueberry powder showing improvement in semantic access testing, which shows recall of facts or events they have collected during their lives.

Krikorian said, “Our new findings corroborate those of previous animal studies and preliminary human studies, adding further support to the notion that blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in some older adults.” He thinks the reason may be flavonoids in blueberries called anthocyanins. They are the pigments that make blueberries blue.

A second study by the team involved 94 people aged 62 to 80. They were given blueberry powder, fish oil, fish oil and blueberry powder or a placebo. That study was less conclusive. “Cognition was somewhat better for those consuming blueberry powder or fish oil separately, but there was little improvement with memory.” Krikorian theorizes that the study results may reflect the fact that this group had fewer and less severe memory problems.

Blueberries may not be as effective for people with minor memory issues or who have not yet developed cognitive problems. And there’s the problem: If you believe in blueberries as a medicine for memory problems, you may be wasting your money on them until you really need them. Or not — they are good for you for many other reasons.

There’s one other problem: participants in the study got powder equivalent to a cup of blueberries a day—that’s a lot of blueberries to consume daily day in and day out for the rest of your life.

To your health and wealth,

Stephen Petranek
for The Daily Reckoning

P.S. To read more in-depth articles on Alzheimer’s research as well as other cutting-edge technology updates and how you can benefit from owning the hidden companies driving the biggest advances in high-tech right now, click here to subscribe to Breakthrough Technology Alert written by Stephen Petranek.

You May Also Be Interested In:

Stephen Petranek

Stephen Petranek’s career of over 40 years in the publishing world is marked by numerous prizes and awards for excellent writing on science, nature, technology, politics, economics and more. He has been editor-in-chief of the Miami Herald’s prestigious Sunday magazine, Tropic, and has covered a wide range of topics for Time Inc.’s Life magazine. His...

View More By Stephen Petranek