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Can Blueberries Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s?

By Carol White, 9:00 am on

Various studies have determined dietary changes can affect a senior’s memory and the risk for serious conditions like Alzheimer’s, and scientists have recently discovered blueberries have the potential to help preserve cognitive health. Prescott Alzheimer’s care experts discuss the impact blueberries may have in the fight against this disease.

Health Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help prevent the degeneration and death of vital neurons and brain cells and also protect central nervous system health. These nutrients include:

  • Anthocyanin
  • Selenium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamins A, B, C, and E
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese

Fresh organic blueberries provide the most nutritional benefits, and pure organic blueberry powder or extract can be excellent substitutes if fresh berries aren’t available. When preparing dishes with blueberries, try to avoid cooking or baking the berries because it diminishes their nutritional value.

Studies on Blueberries and How They Affect Brain Health

In a report released at a recent conference for the American Chemical Society, researchers from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center outlined their findings on the effects blueberries had on cognitive health and mental functioning. The first study included 47 participants over age 68 with symptoms of mild cognitive impairment. Those who received freeze-dried blueberry powder for 16 weeks showed stronger memory skills and an increased ability to access words and concepts. MRIs also showed increased brain activity. A second study followed 94 people who subjectively believed they had weak memory skills but had no measurable cognitive issues. The results were not as dramatic as the first study, but the participants receiving the blueberry powder did demonstrate a slight boost in cognition. Overall, the studies indicate blueberries may be useful in treating symptoms of cognitive impairment, but may not be as beneficial in treating minor memory issues in people who have no actual cognitive deficits.

The same research team plans to conduct future studies with slightly younger subjects aged 50 to 65. They want to include people with risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s, including obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension. The goal is to determine if blueberries can prevent the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Making healthy dietary decisions is just one way to manage Alzheimer’s symptoms or reduce the risk of developing them. Home Care Assistance can suggest additional strategies for boosting brain health. For instance, our activities-based Cognitive Therapeutics Method was specifically designed to help seniors with memory-related conditions live healthier and happier lives. To learn more about home care Prescott seniors with Alzheimer’s can rely on, call one of our dedicated Care Managers at 928-771-0105 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

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