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Brain Health Benefits of Blueberries

Updated on September 18, 2013

Blueberries provide great health benefits for the brain. Think of them as "brain berries".

Blueberries is a powerful antioxidant and is one of the fruits with the highest ORAC values (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) which is an indication of its antioxidant capabilities.[reference] That means that it neutralizes free radical molecules that can cause damage to our cells. If the brain is supplied with sufficient antioxidants, it help protects its cells.

When Dr. Andrew Weil came on to The Dr. Oz Show, he mentioned blueberries and black cod as two foods that protects the brain.

The book Eating on the Wild Side writes ...

"The evidence is mounting that eating more berries might help us humans reverse some aspects of age-related mental decline..." [page245]

Blueberries Help Prevent Memory and Cognitive Decline

A study involving older adults showed that blueberries improve their scores on cognitive function and memory.[2] In this study, the participants were around 76 years old and they consumed 2 to 2.5 cups of blueberry juice per day for 12 weeks. Each cup of blueberry juice was made from three-quarter pound of blueberries. That is a lot of blueberries a day.

Nevertheless, many believe that blueberries has the ability to slow or postponed age related cognitive decline. Because of blueberries powerful antioxidant anthocyanin, it is believed that they protect nerve cells from oxidative damage.

As reported in WebMd, a study involving 16000 women in the Nurses Health Study found an association between eating berries (blueberries and strawberries) with delayed memory decline. On average eating half a cup of berries a week is associated with cognitive improvement differences of equivalent to 2.5 years of aging. Although association is not necessarily a causation, researcher Elizabeth Devore said this is "pretty compelling evidence".

Phytonutrients in Blueberries

Blueberries are filled with phytonutrients such as anthocyanins, flavonols, and resveratrol.[1] They act both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Blueberries provides cardiovascular benefits such as lowering total cholesterol, raising good HDL cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, and help protect the LDL cholesterol from being oxidized.[2] And we know that what is good for the heart is good for the brain.

Blueberries also contains vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, and fiber.

What is the Healthiest?

The book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth has an "Ask the Experts" sections where the author asked what various experts feel were the healthiest food they eat. And ...

"The clear winners were blueberries (and other berries), spinach (and kale), nuts (especially almonds), broccoli, and wild salmon, with grass-fed beef a very close runner-up." [page 16]

Dr. Andrew Weil answers the question of "What's the Best Fruit For Optimum Health?" by saying "berries" in general because it has a relatively low glycemic load and full of antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Frozen Organic Blueberries

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Get Organic Blueberries

Try to get organic blueberries whenever possible to avoid consuming pesticides. Berries are among the foods that are most likely to have pesticide sprayed. And both blueberries and strawberries are listed as foods one should most get as organic by EatingWell.com.

A study has found that organic blueberries contain higher amounts of phenol and anthocyanin antioxidants than non-organic ones.[2]

When blueberries are not in season, you can get frozen blueberries. Frozen berries do not lose as much of its nutritional value as frozen vegetables. Frozen blueberries lose only a little bit (about 10%) of its nutritional value -- according to Dr. Donald Abrams video talk about nutrition and cancer. WHFoods.com says that freezing blueberries does not damage its anthocyanin antioxidants.

Regardless, whether the blueberries are organic or not, you should always wash them before eating.

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    • BlissfulWriter profile image
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      BlissfulWriter 4 years ago

      I eat blueberries like candy.