September 2017 marks the 6th global World Alzheimer’s Month to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.
Widely recognized as a “superfood”, research has shown that adding blueberries to your diet can offer a host of health benefits, many related to the berries being a rich source of antioxidants. The compounds that contribute to a blueberry’s blue colour are what gives blueberries their high antioxidant ranking and in turn their potential to fight age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
Neuroscientist James Joseph at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging has studied the effects of consuming blueberries and how it relates to decreased brain function associated with aging. When observing a strain of mice with Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, Dr. Joseph found that mice with blueberry supplemented diets (the equivalent of a person having one cup of blueberries per day) had better cognitive and motor performance than the control group.
More recently, Dr. Joanna Bowtell, with the Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter in the UK, studied healthy seniors aged 65-77 who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day. Her study found that this group had significantly improved cognitive function and blood flow to the brain compared to the control group. Additional evidence from the study suggested there may have been improvements in memory as well. For easy ways to add blueberries to your diet, visit our recipes section.
Alzheimer’s Disease International, the driving force behind World Alzheimer’s Month, offers 10 tips to identify early signs of Alzheimer’s, which include disorientation to time and place, problems with language, misplacing things, changes in mood and behaviour, and memory loss.