Food & Drink
by Aspect County

Berry good

Berries could boost cognitive function

It’s common knowledge that the food we eat can influence our physical wellbeing. Now, there is growing evidence that eating certain foods, such as berries, could influence our cognitive wellbeing too. Evidence from a new review published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition describes how berries could have the potential to influence cognitive function in people of all ages. 

In children and young adults, blueberry studies have been shown to improve memory and executive function. Further studies into the benefits of blueberries have also observed improvements in cognitive control of mood, meaning that the well-known superfood could play a role in helping to manage anxiety and depression. 

However, it’s not just amongst younger generations that blueberries can have this positive effect. Blueberries have been linked to slower rates of cognitive decline and improved working memory and executive performance as we get older. Given the fact that we are an ageing global population, enjoying blueberries as part of a balanced diet could be another useful strategy alongside conventional treatments. 

The study authors explained that positive effects for extracts, juices, and whole berries (typically freeze-dried and powdered) were seen at doses equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries. These amounts can easily be achieved within a normal diet. 

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented: Blueberries are full of polyphenols such as anthocyanins which have been linked to cognitive benefits. These are exciting findings and imply that berries have an important role to play in reinforcing cognitive wellbeing, both in school and as we age. 

Berries can be easily included in the diet, no matter what our age. Scattered onto cereals, pureed into porridge, juiced into a smoothie, or simply eaten as a portable snack. It will be fascinating to see how research evolves in this exciting field.’