Think your memory is starting to slip? Start munching on blueberries. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati say chowing down on the "superfruit" may help treat patients with cognitive impairments.
Elaborating on earlier research that showed animals who consumed blueberries saw improved cognitive function, scientists conducted two studies: In one, 47 people with mild cognitive impairment, aged 68 and older, were given a daily dose of blueberry powder (equivalent to one cup of berries) or a placebo powder for 16 weeks. Afterward, the powder recipients showed improved cognitive performance, brain function, and increased brain activity, along with "improved memory and improved access to words and concepts," researcher Robert Krikorian explains in a release. In a second study, 94 people aged 62 to 80 who felt their memories were declining were given blueberry powder, fish oil, blueberry powder and fish oil, or a placebo.
"Cognition was somewhat better for those with powder or fish oil separately, but there was little improvement with memory," Krikorian says, noting the results were perhaps "not as robust as with the first study" because the participants had less-severe cognition problems.
Still, "blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in some older adults," Krikorian says.
Interestingly, the secret may lie in the fruit's deep color, reports Medical Daily. The color comes from anthocyanins, antioxidants that have been shown to improve cognitive function in animals.
(In related news, blueberries might also lower your risk for this disease.)