Did you notice? The price of blueberries … or as I like to call them, “brain berries,” … just jumped. Since I eat them nearly every day, I sure did.
You can blame that big heatwave for the hike. The high temps damaged blueberry crops in the Pacific Northwest. And a tighter supply means a bigger bill at the supermarket for you and me.
But my advice is to pay it anyway. Because those little blue gems are worth their weight in gold. After all, they can pull off a feat that billions of dollars in Big Pharma research has so far failed to replicate.
Blueberries can help slow aging in your brain. Heck, in some cases, these delicious berries could even help REVERSE it, protecting and enhancing your memory as you get older.
Do it right, and blueberries may even help you shave a decade or more off your cognitive age.
Powerful polyphenols support better memory
Blueberries and other richly colored blue, purple, and red fruits are loaded with polyphenols. Some of the most powerful are flavonoids or the pigments that give that fresh produce its vivid color.
But these potent compounds do so much more than just make these fruits stand out on the shelf. Flavonoids are powerful age-fighting antioxidants with dozens of benefits, from taming blood sugar to improving blood pressure. In fact, in some cases blueberries may work as well as some BP drugs.
And it turns out these same compounds are vital for your brain.
In one study, researchers recruited volunteers between the ages of 60 and 70. The participants had only moderate polyphenol intake from diet and were suffering from mild cognitive decline.
In other words, they were battling brain slips that were a little worse than just ordinary “senior moments.”
Some volunteers were given a supplement with 258 mg of the flavonoids found in grape and blueberries twice a day, while others got a placebo. Six months later, it looked like there were no differences between the two groups in terms of brainpower.
Well, not at first anyway. But then the researchers took a closer look.
The folks struggling the MOST at the start of the study… the patients who had the most advanced levels of cognitive decline… didn’t just have improvements. They had MAJOR brain improvements.
“De-age” your brain with blueberries
Some of the folks in this group performed like 80-somethings on tests given at the start of the study. But after six months of the supplements, they had essentially “de-aged” their brains.
They were performing at levels that suggested their brains had become up to 14 years YOUNGER. And that’s just one study.
In another, researchers found that 30 milliliters of blueberry extract – roughly half a pound of blueberries, squeezed down into a concentrate – led to improvements in blood flow into the brain, brain activity, and memory.
And yet another study found blueberry may even help people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite the price jump, I still prefer to get my “brain berries” the old-fashioned way… from the produce aisle. But blueberry extracts and blueberry-based polyphenol blends are widely available, relatively inexpensive, and are an excellent way to get a BIG blueberry boost for your brain.