A new collection of studies published in The Journals of Gerontology show how blueberry consumption can contribute to healthy aging.

Research on the health benefits of blueberries has grown “exponentially” since the 1990s, reported Donald K. Ingram, Ph.D., in an accompanying editorial. “Studies have documented that this fruit ranks highest in antioxidant activity compared to many other popular fruits,” he wrote. “Moreover, other mechanisms for the health benefits of blueberries, such as their anti-inflammatory properties, have been identified.”

According to one of the studies, consuming about one cup of the blue fruit daily can improve blood vessel function and decrease systolic blood pressure. Anthocyanins, which give the berries their dark color, may be behind these positive outcomes, the authors theorized.

Other studies found cognitive benefits for older adults who eat blueberries. One tied the fruit’s high polyphenol count to improved performance on memory tests. Another – a review of clinical studies – linked blueberry diet supplementation to improved memory in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

In addition, a rodent study showed improved memory performance in aged rats that ate a blueberry-supplemented diet compared to rats on a control diet.

The research emerged from a symposium titled “Blue versus Gray: Potential Health Benefits of Blueberries for Successful Aging,” held at the International Congress of Gerontology in 2017.

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