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Improving Memory Through Diet

Blueberries have been shown to improve cognition in rats, but what about in people?

September 9, 2010 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited


Image thanks to Wally Hartshorn.


For example, eleven years ago, blueberries gained notoriety for their ability to improve memory… among, elderly rats. Now it’s always difficult to extrapolate between species, but I told people it might translate over and not just work in rats but work for their pet hamsters too.
But we finally, this year, have human data. The first human trial to assess the potential benefit of blueberry supplementation on neurocognitive function. What do you think they found? Blueberries improve memory in humans. Is this fact? or is this fiction
Let’s look at the study. Blueberries improve memory in humans! Fact.
And it turns out the healthful properties may survive processing into products like blueberry jam, but best to store it in the fridge—even before it’s opened.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on brain health. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Alzheimer's Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventableNatural Alzheimer’s Treatment, and Raspberries Reverse Precancerous Lesions

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on brain health. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • JohnSwallow

    Dear Dr. Greger: I’ve been eating fresh/dried or frozen blueberries daily, often at least 2x a day, since learning they improve memory in older adults, thanks to your LCN Vol. 5. I’ve eaten blueberries regularly for most of a decade, since learning of the USDA/Tufts Univ. study of 40 fruits & veggies.
    What are optimal quantities? Since sleep is primarily for the brain to process events/thoughts of the day, would eating them again 2-3 hours before bed be wise, since they would be digested coincident with sleep?
    I’ve been taking Fish Oil 2-9 grams (now 2 x 2 times a day) and 1 tbsp. Flaxseed Oil for a decade (now 2 tbsp. Flaxseeds themselves at breakfast). Would these combine with blueberries to further optimize brain health??

    I’m a 54 yr. old male, 79 yr old mother clearly with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s or dementia, her mother with Alzheimers severely for 6 years, strongly for 10-12. I exercise regularly & vigorously and have NO signs of dementia.

    Thank you!!

    • Toxins

      Hello John Swallow,

      I cannot answer your entire question, as i’m sure Dr. Greger will get to it, but I need to reply to something troubling you wrote. And that is your use of fish oil. If you view this link, you will see fish oil is highly contaminated and quite harmful indeed
      I recommend you stop using fish oil as soon as possible, as even “filtered” fish oil has many of the same contaminants as regular. Not to mention that fish oil could result in “aggressive” prostate cancer.

  • Tan Truong

    I’ve got to eat some blueberries to study better. Hehe.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post Alzheimer’s Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventable!

  • Cpgraetti

    Just saw this medical news about a nutritional drink that supposedly will help improve cognition in alzheimers.  What can you tell us about this study? 

  • Changeisgood

    What amount of Blueberries should be consumed per day for the memory benefits? And how long will that take to possibly see some positive result?
    Thanks muchly

  • LL

    Hello! I am a vegan medical student about to take the Step-1 medical licensing exam was wondering if you had any tips for brain-boosting snacks to help power-through 8-hours of intense-testing. If there’s anything to do/avoid the night before/at breakfast, I’d appreciate knowing that as well! Thank you for your time and consideration.

  • Roger Abramson

    Some people’s memory gets better with age no matter what they eat. “That fish he caught keeps getting bigger and bigger, every time he tells that story.”