Maximum Wellness, Episode 70: Blueberries Increase Cognitive Performance in Middle-Aged Adults

In August 2020, Psychology Today reported on a placebo-controlled study – Improved Metabolic Function and Cognitive Performance in Middle-Aged Adults Following a Single Dose of Blueberries– which appeared in the European Journal of Nutrition. And, is said to be the first examination of the cognitive effects of blueberry consumption in healthy individuals aged forty to sixty-five. commented that, “previous research has shown that berries in general, and blueberries in particular, can enhance cognitive performance in healthy children, young adults, and older adults.”

Thirty-five participants, who completed the double-blinded, balanced crossover study, were cognitively screen at 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours post consumption of a beverage that contained 25 grams of freeze dried blueberry powder (WBB), equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries, mixed in water with frozen lemonade concentrate, and unsweetened Kool-aid, or a matched placebo for taste and coloring.

The cognitive assessments included two tasks measuring executive abilities and one test of episodic memory. An Auditory Verbal Learning Task was used to measure learning, recall, and recognition memory.

The cued Go/No-Go task examined the response inhibition and reaction time, while the Modified Attention Network Task assessed the susceptibility to response interference (tendency to become distracted).

Study results determined that participants, who consumed WBB, saw that their, “cognitive performance was improved in comparison to (a) placebo on delayed recognition memory and aspects of executive function. Importantly, these benefits were found on more demanding elements of the tasks, where some form of additional cognitive effort was required.”

The website said, “taken together, these findings suggest that blueberries can enhance several aspects of cognitive performance in healthy middle-aged adults, especially in cognitively demanding situations.”

As always check with your physician as to your personal health profile relative to any medication contraindications that might be associated with a 25-gram intake of blueberry powder.

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