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New Study Shows Blueberries Lower Blood Pressure and Improve Cognitive Function

A recent study conducted by the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine at King’s College London in the United Kingdom found that consuming a cup of wild blueberries can have numerous health benefits. The study, which was randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled, discovered that blueberry eaters exhibited improved executive function, strengthened short-term memory, and had faster reaction times.

Participants who consumed 26 grams of freeze-dried wild blueberry powder each day for 12 weeks saw a reduction in systolic blood pressure and improved blood vessel function compared to those who consumed a placebo powder. Additionally, the study found that participants who consumed blueberries were better at immediately recalling word lists and exhibited improved switching accuracy, though there was no improvement in delayed recall.

The study involved 61 healthy male and female participants aged between 65–80 years. Over 12 weeks, half of them drank a beverage each day containing 26 g of freeze-dried wild blueberry powder, while the other half consumed a placebo. The blueberry powder was equivalent to 178 g of whole blueberries, which translates to approximately 75–80 blueberries.

The researchers believe that the beneficial effects of blueberries are due to their blue pigments called anthocyanins. Each daily dose of wild blueberry powder in the study contained 302 milligrams of anthocyanins, while the placebo beverage contained none. The mechanism behind the beneficial effects of polyphenols, including anthocyanins, is not yet fully understood.

According to Michelle Routhenstein, a heart health dietitian, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy proteins, minimally processed foods, and moderate oil and salt intake is beneficial for cardiovascular and cognitive health. Other foods linked to cognitive health include green vegetables, wild salmon, and sardines rich in DHA, unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fats, which may also help lower levels of beta-amyloid, a component in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.