It's blueberries time! Add these precious fruits to vegetable yogurt, smoothies or enjoy them alone, the important thing is not to miss them. A few days ago we had the opportunity to see the important health properties of blueberries, useful for combating obesity and the accumulation of visceral fat. Today we know that blueberries are neuroprotective and protect the brain from the risk of neurodegeneration, acting years before actual cognitive impairment can be observed. This emerges from a very recent research appeared in the Nutrients journal thanks to the work of a team of American scientists from the University of Cincinnati (Krikorian et al, Nutrients, 2022).
Cognitive impairment begins many years earlier
Dementia affecting the elderly actually begins many years before there is a clear manifestation of this disease, starting to develop in the middle age period. In addition, metabolic problems such as blood sugar changes or obesity have been shown to be a risk factor for the development of cognitive impairment. Previous studies have shown that blueberries are capable of improving metabolic function. Not only that, blueberries have always proved capable of attenuating cognitive impairment. Given these premises, scientists wondered if a regular intake of blueberries could act as a prevention in middle-aged adults with metabolic problems. The study we are talking about today was therefore drawn up.
Blueberries protect the brain, the study
Researchers recruited 33 adults, aged 50 to 65, all overweight or obese and with subjectively reported memory problems. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to take a serving of blueberries, about 70 grams, every day for 3 months. The second group had to take a placebo instead. At the beginning and at the end of the study, the volunteers underwent medical examinations and tests to assess the state of health and cognitive function. What emerged was that the intake of blueberries significantly improved memory and the ability to express oneself and to search for appropriate words. Not only that, the volunteers also noticed an improvement in everyday activities that were carried out more smoothly. Finally, blueberries decreased insulin resistance, since the insulin values in the volunteers who took blueberries were lowered. It is believed that this action is due to the antioxidants contained in blueberries, such as anthocyanins and proanthocyanins.
Therefore, blueberries, for their action on the metabolism, but also for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, are protective for the brain even in people with a higher risk of developing cognitive impairment over the years.