Blueberries and Aging
In a USDA Human Nutrition Research Center laboratory, neuroscientists discovered that feeding blueberries to laboratory rats slowed age-related loss in their mental capacity, a finding that has important implications for humans.
In one study, Jim Joseph, director of the neuroscience laboratory in the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center (HNRC), fed blueberry extractions—the equivalent of a human eating one cup of blueberries a day—to mice and then ran them through a series of motor skills tests.He found that the blueberry-fed mice performed better than their control group counterparts in motor behavioral learning and memory, and he noticed an increase in exploratory behavior. When he examined their brains, he found a marked decrease in oxidative stress in two regions of the brain and better retention of signal-transmitting neurons compared with the control mice.
The compound that appears responsible for this neuron protection, anthocyanin, also gives blueberries their color and might be the key component of the blueberry’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries, along with other colorful fruits and vegetables, test high in their ability to subdue free radicals. These free radicals, which can damage cell membranes and DNA through a process known as oxidative stress, are blamed for many of the dysfunctions and diseases associated with aging.
These findings could become increasingly important as the U.S. population ages. It is projected that by 2050, more than 30% of Americans will be over 65 and will have the decreased cognitive and motor function that accompanies advanced age. Joseph is currently testing the effects of blueberries on humans. Preliminary results show that people who ate a cup of blueberries a day have performed 5–6% better on motor skills tests than the control group
Blueberries and Health
Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey have identified compounds in blueberries called proanthocyanidins that promote urinary tract health and reduce the risk of infection by preventing bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls of the urinary tract. Source www.blueberry.org/health.htm