Blueberries every day may boost brain and heart health 2023

A new study from the King’s College London Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine in the United Kingdom reveals that a cup of wild blueberries is more than a delicious snack. It can also stimulate the brain, reduce blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular health.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study revealed that blueberry consumers demonstrated enhanced executive function, enhanced short-term memory, and quicker reaction times.

Those who consumed a drink containing 26 grams (g) of freeze-dried wild blueberry powder on a daily basis for 12 weeks experienced a 3.59 millimeters of mercury (mmHG) reduction in systolic blood pressure and enhanced blood vessel function in comparison to those who consumed a placebo powder.

Participants who ingested blueberries performed better on immediate recall of word lists and exhibited greater switching precision, according to a reliable source. However, the researchers did not perceive any improvement in delayed recall.

178 grams per day of blackberries

The study included 61 healthy male and female participants between the ages of 65 and 80 from London. Over the course of 12 weeks, half of the participants consumed a beverage containing 26 g of freeze-dried wild blueberry powder, while the other half consumed a placebo with identical flavor, appearance, macronutrients, fiber, and vitamin C content.

Food studies frequently employ powdered substances for precise measurements.

The daily consumption of 26 grams of blueberry powder was equivalent to 178 grams of whole blueberries. This equates to between 75 and 80 blueberries, given that their sizes differ.

Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, the study’s senior investigator, told Medical News Today that the blueberries need not be wild because “other studies conducted with other types of blueberries have demonstrated cognitive and vascular health benefits.”

Anthocyanins are beneficial natural compounds.

The researchers believe the beneficial effects of blueberries are due to the blue pigments known as anthocyanins. In the study, each daily dose of powdered wild blueberry contained 302 milligrams (mg) of anthocyanins. The placebo drink contained nothing.

“Anthocyanins are a class of polyphenols,” explained Michelle Routhenstein, a dietitian specializing in cardiac health who was not involved in this study.

She added, “There are approximately 8,000 different types of polyphenols that provide health benefits.” Other beneficial polyphenol-containing foods include green tea, asparagus, pears, and spices such as turmeric and cinnamon.

Strawberries, raspberries, red grapes, and purple vegetables all contain anthocyanins.

How the investigation originated

Dr. Rodriguez-Mateos and co-author Dr. Claire Williams independently investigated the cognitive and cardiovascular benefits of blueberries and came to the same conclusions.

Dr. Rodriguez-Mateos explained that as a consequence, they “decided to investigate the effects on vascular and cognitive function simultaneously in one clinical study.”

Other research suggested that cerebral blood flow may be a mechanism behind the beneficial effects of polyphenols, along with increased vascular blood flow.

In addition, new information regarding the gut microbiota and gut-brain axis prompted them to investigate this relationship.

What polyphenols might be

The mechanism underlying polyphenols’ beneficial effects is not yet completely understood.

According to Dr. Rodriguez-Mateos, polyphenol “metabolites may act as signaling molecules, acting through multiple cell-signaling pathways and modulating nitric oxide bioavailability and different enzymes.”

Researchers discovered an increase in anthocyanin metabolites in the urine of study participants after 12 weeks.

Dr. Rodriguez-Mateos is confident that “the mechanism of action in blood vessels is endothelium-dependent and therefore mediated by the nitric oxide pathway”

While there was evidence that blueberries enhanced cerebral and vascular blood flow, there was no difference in arterial stiffness or blood lipids between those who consumed the fruit and those who consumed a placebo.

Nevertheless, “[w]hen blood flow is improved, both heart health and brain health benefit,” according to Routhenstein.

Regarding the role of gut microbiota, Dr. Rodriguez-Mateos stated, “one of the hypotheses we proposed in our study is that polyphenols may act by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria that produce butyrate, and thus the production of butyrate.”

She added that this must be confirmed by additional research.

Other foods beneficial to heart and mental health

According to the American Heart Association, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy proteins, minimally processed foods, and moderate oil and sodium intake promotes cardiovascular and cognitive health.Reliable Source.

According to recent research, the Mediterranean diet may be the best diet for cardiac health.

Routhenstein mentioned the benefits of nitrate-rich green vegetables, such as spinach, Swiss chard, and kale, which help dilate the arteries.

“This improves blood flow and vascular, cardiac, and cognitive function,” she explained.

Routhenstein stated that numerous other nutrients are associated with cognitive health. “Omega-3 fats such as wild salmon and sardines are associated with enhanced cognition due to their high DHA content and potent anti-inflammatory properties,” she explained.

In addition, “[s]ome studies suggest that omega-3 fats and other unsaturated fats may help reduce levels of beta-amyloid, a factor in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

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