A study finds that eating half a cup of blueberries every day in your late fifties can protect against dementia later in life.
- A new study has found that eating just half a cup of blueberries a day in their 50s can help them stave off devastating cognitive decline later in life.
- Researchers found that people in their 50s who had blueberries performed better on cognitive tests, and even had healthy blood sugar levels.
- The researchers suggested that this may be because blueberries contain anthocyanins, although they cannot determine a mechanism
- A report from the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that more than six million Americans suffer from dementia
A new study has found that eating just half a cup of blueberries a day in your late 50s can help stave off dementia.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati tracked 13 obese adults with mild memory declines who ate berries for three months and found a significant improvement in their memory compared to others who did not eat fruits.
The team suggested that the berries may have a protective effect because they contain anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that can reduce inflammation.
But they acknowledged that it was difficult to determine whether the blueberries caused the improvement because the study was observational – meaning it can’t tell if the result was caused by other factors – and the sample size was small.
Scientists say eating half a cup of blueberries a day can help stave off dementia (stock)
What is dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions that affect the brain.
There are many different types of dementia, the most famous of which is Alzheimer’s disease.
Some people may have a combination of dementias.
No matter what type is diagnosed, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way.
Dementia is a global concern but it often appears in wealthier countries, where people are more likely to live to old age.
How many people are affected?
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that there are more than 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, of whom more than 500,000 have Alzheimer’s disease.
It is estimated that by 2025 the number of people living with dementia in the UK will rise to more than 1 million.
In the United States, it is estimated that there are 5.5 million people with Alzheimer’s disease. A similar percentage is expected to rise in the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, the risk of developing dementia increases.
Diagnosis rates are improving, but it is believed that many people with dementia remain undiagnosed.
Is there a cure?
Currently there is no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow its progression, and the sooner it’s caught, the more effective treatments will be.
Source: Dementia UK
In the study — published in the journal Nutrients — the scientists recruited 33 adults in their late 50s from across the Cincinnati area who had gained weight in middle age.
Participants in both groups weighed about 205 pounds on average, and had a waist circumference of about 107 centimeters.
Their BMI scores were 33, classifying them as obese.
They were all in the pre-diabetes stage, when the body begins to resist insulin.
This is a step closer to type 2 diabetes — a major risk factor for dementia.
In the experiment, adults were asked to stop eating all kinds of berries and fruits.
Half were then given a ‘blueberry’ bag to mix with water each day, containing the equivalent of ½ cup of fruit.
The rest received a dummy sachet containing inert powder.
The trial was double-blind, meaning that the participants and researchers did not know who was receiving the “blueberry” bags or the placebo.
Before starting the experiment, tests were performed to measure the participants’ memory.
These were repeated again 12 weeks after either the blueberries or the placebo.
Dr. Robert Krikorian, the psychologist who led the study, and others said in the paper: “The cognitive results indicated an improvement in executive ability in this middle-aged sample. [who had blueberries].
demonstrate these benefits in middle-aged individuals with insulin resistance and [subjective cognitive decline] It suggests that continuous bilberry supplementation may contribute to protection against cognitive decline when implemented early in high-risk individuals.
They added, “In summary, this study demonstrated that bilberry supplementation has a neurocognitive benefit in middle-aged individuals with insulin resistance and an elevated risk of developing dementia in the future.”
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than 6 million Americans suffer from dementia.
By 2050, this is expected to rise to nearly 13 million as the population grows older – or one in 25 people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says early symptoms of the condition include memory loss and difficulty maintaining attention and communicating with others.
This may include getting lost in a familiar neighborhood, using unusual words to refer to familiar things and forgetting the names of family members.
Age is the strongest risk factor for developing this condition — along with a family history of it and an increased risk of heart disease.
There is currently no cure for dementia, with treatments instead focusing on slowing the condition and reducing its symptoms.