Half a cup of blueberries a day could stave off dementia in older adults, study says
Eating half a cup of blueberries every day at age 50 can stave off dementia later in life, study finds
- Eating just half a cup of blueberries every day at age 50 can help a person stave off devastating cognitive decline later in life, according to a new study
- Researchers found that people in their 50s who are blueberries performed better on cognitive tests and even had healthier blood sugar levels.
- The researchers suggested this may be because blueberries contain anthocyanins, although they couldn’t pin down a mechanism.
- More than six million Americans suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s Association report suggests
Eating just half a cup of blueberries a day at age 50 could help stave off dementia, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati tracked 13 obese adults with mild memory impairment who ate the berries for three months and found a significant improvement in their memory compared to others who didn’t eat the fruits.
The team suggested that the berries may have a protective effect because they contain anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that can reduce inflammation.
But they admitted that it was difficult to determine if the blueberries had caused the improvement because the study was observational, meaning they couldn’t say if the result was due to other factors, and it had a small sample size.
Eating half a cup of blueberries a day could help stave off dementia, scientists say (stock)
WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions that affect the brain.
There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of the type that is diagnosed, each person will experience their dementia in a unique way.
Dementia is a global concern, but it is seen most often in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live to a very old age.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports that there are currently over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, of whom over 500,000 have Alzheimer’s.
The number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 is estimated to rise to over 1 million.
In the US, there are an estimated 5.5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar percentage increase is expected in the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, so does the risk that they will develop dementia.
Diagnosis rates are improving, but it is believed that many people with dementia remain undiagnosed.
IS THERE A CURE?
There is currently no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow its progression, and the earlier it is detected, the more effective treatments will be.
Source: dementia uk
In the study, published in the journal nutrients — The scientists recruited 33 adults in their 50s from around the Cincinnati area who had gained weight in their midlife.
Participants in both groups weighed around 205 pounds on average and had a waist circumference of around 107 centimeters.
Their BMI scores were 33, classifying them as obese.
All of them were prediabetic, when the body begins to become resistant to insulin.
This is a step closer to type 2 diabetes, a key risk factor for dementia.
In the trial, adults were told to stop eating berries and fruit.
Half were then given a sachet of ‘blueberries’ to mix with water each day, containing the equivalent of half a cup of the fruits.
The rest received a placebo sachet, which contained an inert powder.
The trial was double-blind, meaning that the participants and researchers did not know who was receiving the ‘blueberry’ or placebo sachets.
Before the experiment began, tests were performed to measure the memory of the participants.
These were repeated again after 12 weeks of eating the blueberries or the placebo.
Dr. Robert Krikorian, the psychologist who led the study, and others said in the article: “The cognitive findings indicated better executive ability in this middle-aged sample. [who had blueberries].
“The demonstration of these benefits in middle-aged people with insulin resistance and [subjective cognitive decline] suggests that continuous blueberry supplementation may contribute to protection against cognitive decline when implemented early in at-risk individuals.’
They added: “In summary, this study demonstrated that blueberry supplementation has a neurocognitive benefit in middle-aged people with insulin resistance and an elevated risk of future dementia.”
More than 6 million Americans are believed to have dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association Reports.
By 2050, it is projected to rise to almost 13 million as the elderly population grows, or one in 25 people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say early symptoms of the condition include memory loss, difficulty sustaining attention and communicating with others.
This can include getting lost in a familiar neighborhood, using unusual words to refer to familiar objects, and forgetting the names of family members.
Being older is the strongest risk factor for developing the condition, along with family history and an increased risk of heart disease.
There is currently no cure for dementia, and treatments focus on slowing down the condition and limiting its symptoms.