• By Lani

FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Lani's Bircher Muesli topped with coconut yogurt and blueberries

Cramming for an exam? Forgot where you put your keys? Can’t remember whether you need to buy milk or if you’ve already got it at home?


How often do you feel like your memory is failing you? – because for most people, this happens every single day.


Now while I know there’s probably some powder, or tablet, or app that can supposedly help with every day memory, what if there was a cheaper, healthier and way more delicious alternative that you probably have in your fridge right now.


Well, guess what… there is!


BLUEBERRIES!



So let’s get to know a little bit more about the humble blueberry


Well to start, you’ve probably already heard of antioxidants as they seem to take the cake when it comes to being listed as a “health benefit” of food products. However, these free radical fighting beauties are not the only important constituent in this super food. Move aside antioxidants- I want to introduce you to the new kid on the block… anthocyanins.


Anthocyanin’s are polyphenolic compounds that have been associated with amplifying neuronal signalling between brain centres!

They work to enhance memory function and improve the disposal of glucose in the body, helping to mitigate neurodegeneration. They also prevent the degradation of enzymes involved in neurotransmission, and even reduce neurotoxicity from ethanol! This may minimise the long-term effects of alcohol consumption on brain function.


A recent study also found for the first time that daily blueberry supplementation enhanced neuronal response in a working memory challenge, with participants consuming the equivalent of 1 cup per day of blueberries.



So… how can this help you?


Well there is currently no set upper limit for blueberry intake which means you can go just go crazy eating blueberries, however, based on most studies it would be conclusive to say that consuming 2/3 – 1 cup per day would be highly effective for providing all the neuro-protective phytochemicals and flavonoids.

Simple 3 ingredient blueberry, raspberry, coconut water smoothie

Try adding blueberries to your breakfast by sprinkling a handful on top of your yogurt and muesli, mix them into your oatmeal or even create a delicious berry smoothie… the options are endless! And while you’re at it, get your parents and grandparents eating them too!


While there is currently no known effective treatment for dementia, exciting upcoming research is showing the therapeutic possibilities that diet alone may have in preventing the onset, and even minimising the effect of dementia. Blueberries specifically are providing promising results for their effect on memory and cognition in older adults – regardless of whether they already have dementia, or are just looking for preventative measures.


So go on and buy a punnet or 12 of blueberries and get munching! This super mind food is ready to be incorporated into your everyday routine, and the bonus is – they’re delicious so why wouldn’t you!












References

  1. Enhanced neural activation with blueberry supplementation in mild cognitive impairment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28221821

  2. Anthocyanins restore behavioral and biochemical changes caused by streptozotocin-induced sporadic dementia of Alzheimer's type. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024320513007133

  3. Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20047325

  4. Cyanidin-3-glucoside ameliorates ethanol neurotoxicity in the developing brain. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jnr.22689

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