Blueberries: Meet the “Brain Berry”

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Blueberries, you see them in articles and advertisements everywhere. If you had to take one message from everything that you come across, it will likely be that blueberries are good for you. Maybe the best thing about blueberries is that they are delicious served alone, or with other fruit, in muffins, or our favorite… pancakes.

We did a little digging to come up with something quick and definitive that you could store away in your brain (pun intended) about blueberries for the next time you are at the supermarket.

We have learned from Tyler Lebaron’s article which we featured previously (click here to view) that H2 and antioxidants found in food can’t replace each other as both are needed. The article referred to specific properties of H2 that give it significant advantages over antioxidants derived from food.

Here are a few key points about the benefits of blueberries:

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) tested 77 different fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and spices and found that blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity per serving.

James Joseph, PhD, head of the Neuroscience Laboratory at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging says:

“When it comes to brain protection, there is nothing quite like blueberries”

and

“Call the blueberry the brain berry”

Jennifer Warner, writing in a WebMD article in 2012 wrote:

It has been suggested that eating berries has beneficial effects on brain signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell death. The net effect of these improvements in brain function may stall age-related brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Reviews show that cellular, animal, and human studies confirm that berries like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries benefit the aging brain in several ways.

First, the high antioxidant content of berries helps protect brain cells from damage by harmful free radicals, which are set loose within the body by the process of “oxidation.”

Second, berries change the way the neurons in the brain communicate with each other. These changes can prevent inflammation that can lead to brain cell damage and thereby improve movement control and function.

For example, researchers say studies have shown that berries are capable of enhancing brain function and movement control in animals.

In addition, some studies in humans have shown that dietary supplementation with berries reduces inflammation in humans. Grapes and blueberries have also been shown to improve brain function in older adults with mild mental impairment.

Summary:

  • Research clearly indicates that blueberries and other species of berries act as antioxidants
  • Berries have been identified as being beneficial for brain signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell death which can slow down the onset of memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia
  • To date, researchers have been unable to identify whether the benefits on brain function are linked to specific molecules common to different berries or whether the benefits are due to combinations of chemicals.
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