Brain-Boosting Berries

Feed your higher brain functions with blueberries.

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It seems that “improving cognitive function” can be added to the laundry list of health benefits from blueberries. Ron Mervis, PhD, of the Center for Aging and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, led a study that discovered rats were able to manipulate mazes just as well as their younger counterparts when they were fed blueberries for eight weeks (equivalent to a 1/2-cup per day for humans).

Why? Researchers said that the chemical compounds in rats may reverse or minimize the breakdown of communication between neurons. As we age, oxidation and inflammation in the brain can damage neurons, but blueberries may reduce inflammation and cognitive decline. Further research revealed that when blueberries are combined with omega-3 foods, such as walnuts and blueberries, both cognitive and motor skills are improved to such a degree that images of older rodents’ brains resembled those of younger rats.

To reap similar benefits, add blueberries to salads, yogurt, smoothies and cereal. For a tasty meat topper, heat fresh blueberries in a pan with olive oil and red wine. Simmer until the fruit pops and the sauce thickens.

See also Blueberry Kickstarter Smoothie.

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