The Blueberry Way to Reduce Alzheimer's Disease
By Dietitian Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Blueberries are often hailed as the ultimate superfood. Now, new research confirms what other studies have shown – that they may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Scientists from the National Institute on Ageing at Tufts University in Boston treated rats to bring on the affects of an ageing illness, and then fed a group of them a diet supplemented with blueberry extract for eight weeks.
Compared to those rats fed a normal diet, the rats that ate blueberries lost fewer brain cells and were able to find their way around a maze more easily.
A spokesman for Elsevier, the publisher of the journal that reported the study said, “Blueberries have long been dubbed a wonder fruit. Scientists have discovered yet another reason why the blueberry lives up to its reputation.”
It’s still not clear what causes Alzheimer’s Disease, but evidence suggests that brain cells are destroyed due to free radical damage. It’s thought that antioxidants called polyphenols, found in good amounts in blueberries, may help to prevent this type of damage.
It’s worth bearing in mind that a lot more research is needed to discover whether blueberries will have the same effect in humans.
Adding blueberries to a healthy, balanced diet certainly won’t do you any harm. An 80g serving of fresh blueberries counts as one of your five daily servings of fruit and veg and provides just 46 calories and 0.3g fat.
You can use the food diary and database tools in WLR to make sure your diet is healthy, balanced and contains the right amount of calories. Try it free for 24 hours.
The UK’s leading care and research charity for people with dementia, their families and carers. www.alzheimers.org.uk