Various studies have determined dietary changes can affect a senior’s memory and the risk of serious conditions like Alzheimer’s, and scientists have recently discovered blueberries have the potential to preserve cognitive health. Below is some information on the impact blueberries may have in the fight against this disease.
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Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that prevent the degeneration and death of vital neurons and brain cells and also protect central nervous system health. These nutrients include:
- Vitamins A, B, C, and E
Fresh organic blueberries provide the most nutritional benefits, and pure organic blueberry powder or extract can be excellent substitutes if fresh berries aren’t available. When preparing dishes with blueberries, try to avoid cooking or baking the berries, because it diminishes their nutritional value.
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Studies on Blueberries & How They Affect Brain Health
In a report by the American Chemical Society, researchers from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center outlined their findings from studies on the effects blueberries have on cognitive health and mental functioning. The first study included 47 participants over age 68 with symptoms of mild cognitive impairment. Those who received freeze-dried blueberry powder for 16 weeks showed stronger memory skills and an increased ability to access words and concepts. MRIs also showed increased brain activity.
A second study followed 94 people who subjectively believed they had weak memory skills but had no measurable cognitive issues. The results weren’t as dramatic as the first study, but the participants receiving the blueberry powder did demonstrate a slight boost in cognition. Overall, the studies indicate blueberries may be useful in treating symptoms of cognitive impairment but may not be as beneficial in treating minor memory issues in people who have no actual cognitive deficits.
The same research team plans to conduct future studies with slightly younger subjects aged 50 to 65. They want to include people with risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s, including obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension. The goal is to determine if blueberries can prevent the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Oshkosh seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that promotes cognitive health and delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (920) 573-6295 to schedule a free in-home consultation.