Blueberry Braniacs

Blueberry Braniacs
Blueberry Braniacs

One of the highlights of our journey through so many mountain ranges this past week has been snacking on wild blueberries (WBB).

This time of year, the blueberry plant leaves have turned a beautiful red color. We can spot them blanketing the hillsides right above the tree-lines. Just a few berries remain on the plants, so searching for the perfect blue orbs is an exhilarating challenge.

It makes sense that the more blueberries we find, the greater we become at finding them. But interestingly, it’s not only our experience that makes us better blueberry sleuths. Research proves that  wild blueberries actually make us smarter!

Randomized, double-blind cross-over studies have established their positive effect on cognitive function. The most recent, Improved metabolic function and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults following a single dose of wild blueberry, was published just last month.

This study found that cognitively healthy people aged 45 to 60 experienced improved cognitive performances up to 8 hours after consuming 1 cup of a wild blueberry drink. Most affected were their abilities to manage demanding tasks and avoid cognitive fatigue.

Another study followed nine older adults aged 71 to 81 who suffered from mild cognitive decline. Depending on body weight, they drank 15.6, 18.7 or 21.8 ounces of wild blueberry juice in three equal servings each day for 12 weeks.

The study found that, “These preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration.” 

They may have experienced even better results if they had consumed the blueberries whole with the fiber and all the phytonutrients included as in the following study. This one from May of this year showed “… memory and executive function benefits have both been found for children aged 7–10 in the 6 hours period following acute blueberry consumption.”

Know a teenage girl who’s a little depressed? Find a mountain trail with some blueberries! A fourth study of 35 girls between12 and 17 showed that “…significantly fewer self-reported depression symptoms in participants who were supplemented with WBB compared with placebo.”

So, looking for the perfect family activity to help everyone perk up? Go hunting for wild blueberries!

If you’re not close to a mountain trail or your blueberry season is over, some of my kids devour frozen blueberries by the bowlful. So why not make a run to the grocery store’s frozen fruit aisle?

Or, for a longer-lasting supply of brain-empowering snacks, hop online and order some freeze-dried wild blueberries!

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