Blueberries may improve memory and concentration in kids
Blueberries have been called superfoods due to the high levels of antioxidants present in one serving, and now researchers have another reason to call this fruit “super” – it may improve memory and concentration.
Approximately 21 children between the 7 and 10 years old performed various cognitive tasks after drinking a high dose of either wild blueberry juice equivalent to 1.75 cups of blueberries, a low dose of wild blueberry juice equivalent to .75 cup of blueberries, or a placebo.
The children remembered one additional word after drinking the high dose juice compared to the placebo when they were tested 75 minutes and three hours after the test. They also remembered two additional words six hours after the test. In addition, the children who drank the wild blueberry juice had an increase in concentration levels.
“Wild blueberries are rich in flavonoids, compounds found naturally in foods such as fruits and their juices, vegetables and tea,” lead study author Claire Williams said in a news release. “We have known for some time that flavonoids promote healthy brain function in adults. However, this is the first, fully controlled, double-blinded research study to examine the effects of flavonoids on cognitive behavior in children.”
To take it a step further, Williams, along with her team of researchers, hope to use the findings to study how wild blueberries impact reading development, and whether they could benefit children with ADHD.
“The composite scores for all the tasks highlighted a significant difference in the children’s cognition results, with the strong drink leading to the best performance and the placebo the least effect performance,” said Williams. “Primary school is a vital stage in a child’s educational and social development. These results indicate strongly that consuming foods rich in flavonoids, such as wild blueberries, could aid overall learning in the classroom.”
Blueberries are packed with nutrients, says Barbara Fine, a registered dietitian at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.
“Blueberries are low in fat,” she says. “One cup contains 80 calories. They are full of dietary fiber, provide 25 percent of daily requirements of vitamin C, and are an excellent source of manganese, which plays a role in bone development.”
While blueberries are delicious on their own, Fine also recommends using blueberries as “toppers” for yogurt and hot and cold cereals, as well as adding them to muffins, quick breads and fruit smoothies.
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