Benefits of Blueberries for Mood & Mobility

Benefits of Blueberries for Mood & Mobility
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Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of… blueberries!

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The consumption of berries can enhance “beneficial signaling in the brain.” “Plant foods…are our primary source of…antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds,” but some plant foods may be better than others. As I’ve explored before, one cup of blueberries a day can improve cognition among older adults, as shown in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. And the same thing in kids after just a single meal of blueberries; though two cups may work better than one.

That single hit of berries may also improve mood. A “double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study” in which kids are asked a series of questions. Are you very slightly, or not at all, a little, moderately, quite a bit, or extremely interested, excited, strong, etc. Before and after drinking the placebo, no significant change, but two hours after consuming about two cups of blueberries, their positive mood scores significantly improved. They felt more enthusiastic, alert, inspired, attentive—that kind of thing. That was in the young adults, ages 18 through 21; same thing in seven- to 10-year-old children. Some new dangerous mood-enhancing drug or Ritalin? No, blueberries—and just after a single meal.

Now blueberries can’t do everything. Although a cup of berries certainly appears to improve brain function… “[n]o improvement in [walking] or balance was observed.” Maybe if you tried two cups of blueberries a day? Let’s do it!

Would “6 weeks of…two cups of frozen blueberries a day affect…[the] functional mobility in…adults” over age 60? Let’s find out. How awesome is it that this study was ever done in the first place? Randomized to blueberries or carrot juice as a control, measuring things like walking a plank, seeing if you can maintain your balance along a narrow path.

“Two bright yellow ropes on the floor outlined the narrow path, and participants were instructed to walk [down] within the roped path.” And the blueberries beat out the carrot juice; “significant improvements,” suggesting “blueberry supplementation may provide an effective countermeasure to age-related declines in functional mobility.” And looking back, they were thinking maybe they should have used something like cucumber as a control, since the carrots may have offered some benefit as well, making the blueberry results even more impressive. “Overall, this study demonstrates the need for greater exploration of blueberry supplementation as a nonpharmacologic countermeasure to the public health issue of age-related declines in…[independence].” Or to use the pun version: “Dietary interventions with [phytonutrient]-rich foods, such as blueberries, present a potentially fruitful strategy for combating some of the deleterious effects of age-related neurodegeneration.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Jess Watters via Unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The consumption of berries can enhance “beneficial signaling in the brain.” “Plant foods…are our primary source of…antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds,” but some plant foods may be better than others. As I’ve explored before, one cup of blueberries a day can improve cognition among older adults, as shown in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. And the same thing in kids after just a single meal of blueberries; though two cups may work better than one.

That single hit of berries may also improve mood. A “double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study” in which kids are asked a series of questions. Are you very slightly, or not at all, a little, moderately, quite a bit, or extremely interested, excited, strong, etc. Before and after drinking the placebo, no significant change, but two hours after consuming about two cups of blueberries, their positive mood scores significantly improved. They felt more enthusiastic, alert, inspired, attentive—that kind of thing. That was in the young adults, ages 18 through 21; same thing in seven- to 10-year-old children. Some new dangerous mood-enhancing drug or Ritalin? No, blueberries—and just after a single meal.

Now blueberries can’t do everything. Although a cup of berries certainly appears to improve brain function… “[n]o improvement in [walking] or balance was observed.” Maybe if you tried two cups of blueberries a day? Let’s do it!

Would “6 weeks of…two cups of frozen blueberries a day affect…[the] functional mobility in…adults” over age 60? Let’s find out. How awesome is it that this study was ever done in the first place? Randomized to blueberries or carrot juice as a control, measuring things like walking a plank, seeing if you can maintain your balance along a narrow path.

“Two bright yellow ropes on the floor outlined the narrow path, and participants were instructed to walk [down] within the roped path.” And the blueberries beat out the carrot juice; “significant improvements,” suggesting “blueberry supplementation may provide an effective countermeasure to age-related declines in functional mobility.” And looking back, they were thinking maybe they should have used something like cucumber as a control, since the carrots may have offered some benefit as well, making the blueberry results even more impressive. “Overall, this study demonstrates the need for greater exploration of blueberry supplementation as a nonpharmacologic countermeasure to the public health issue of age-related declines in…[independence].” Or to use the pun version: “Dietary interventions with [phytonutrient]-rich foods, such as blueberries, present a potentially fruitful strategy for combating some of the deleterious effects of age-related neurodegeneration.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Jess Watters via Unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

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