Scientists from the University of Cincinnati found that eating blueberry regularly in midlife could help reduce dementia risk.
Blueberries are a widely distributed and widespread group of perennial flowering plants with blue or purple berries.
Blueberries contain dietary fiber, which helps your digestive system run smoothly. The fruit is also an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin K.
One cup of blueberries provides 24 percent of a person’s recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Blueberries are high in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins.
Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins belonging to plant flavonoids are thought of as the major functional components found in black, red, and purple rice and contribute to the intense color of many fruits, vegetables, and pigmented cereals such as blueberries, grapes, red cabbages, and purple sweet potatoes.
These flavonoids may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes. Consequently, they are widely studied for disease prevention and treatment.
Late-life dementia typically develops over a period of many years beginning in midlife.
Metabolic problems also accelerate in middle age and are a prominent risk factor for dementia.
Previous studies have found that blueberry intake can improve cognitive performance and influence metabolism and brain function.
It therefore may have a role in early intervention to prevent brain disease.
In this study, researchers examined the effects of daily blueberry eating on the dementia risk in middle-aged people.
These participants were overweight men and women, aged 50 to 65 years, and had insulin resistance with a higher risk for future dementia.
The team tested cognitive and metabolic functions in these people before and after the blueberry intervention.
They found improved performances in the blueberry group in several cognitive tasks. These participants also reported reduced memory encoding difficulty in daily life activities.
The blueberry-treated group also showed a reduction in hyperinsulinemia.
Hyperinsulinemia is a condition in which there are excess levels of insulin circulating in the blood relative to the level of glucose.
While it is often mistaken for diabetes or hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia can result from a variety of metabolic diseases and conditions, as well as non-nutritive sugars in the diet.
These findings suggested improved executive ability in this middle-aged group.
In addition, the team found that the changes in metabolic measures imply potential benefits linked to anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin.
These benefits in middle-aged people with insulin resistance and cognitive decline suggest that regular blueberry intake may help protect against cognitive decline in middle-aged people with a high risk of dementia.
The team says future work needs to examine the effect of blueberry intake over longer periods with cognitive assessments to test the long-term benefits.
It is also important to test the benefits of blueberry intake on non-overweight people with higher dementia risk.
The research is published in Nutrients and was conducted by Robert Krikorian et al.
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