Blueberry juice improves memory, cognitive functions in seniors

EXETER, England — Forget apples — it turns out another fruit could keep the doctor away for seniors. A new study finds that drinking blueberry juice improves brain function in healthy older adults.

The study, conducted at the University of Exeter, looked at 26 healthy people between the ages of 66-77 who drank either concentrated blueberry juice or a placebo on a daily basis. Those who drank the juice showed improved cognitive function and blood flow, researchers discovered.

The participants, who took cognitive tests both before and after the 12-week period, were split up into two groups: 12 were given the blueberry juice and 14 received a placebo each day. The group who drank the blueberry juice “showed significant increases in brain activity in brain areas related to the tests,” according to the release.

“In this study we have shown that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation and some aspects of working memory were improved in this group of healthy older adults,” says Dr. Joanna Bowtell, head of Sport and Health Sciences at Exeter, in a university release.

Bowtell and her team also found those who drank blueberry juice showed an improved working memory.

Previously, it was shown that the risk of dementia in older people can be countered by a diet high in fruits and vegetables. So the researchers excluded anyone who consumed over five portions of fruits and vegetables per day from the study to compensate.

The study is published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. It was also supported by the charity BRACE, which benefits dementia research.

This article was first published on March 30, 2017.