Benefits across all ages, year-round
It’s no secret that I’m a fruit fan. You could even say I’m “berry” fond of this healthy and delicious food group.
I start every day with a bowl of plain, full-fat, Greek yogurt topped with berries. This nutritious breakfast is filling…and has even helped me lose 35 pounds with almost no effort!
But, of course, that’s not all that berries can do for you.
Research shows these colorful fruits help protect against cancer, heart disease, and Type II diabetes. Plus, many studies concluded that berries are one of the original brain foods.
In fact, new research shows that two particular berries not only help protect against dementia in older people, but in middle-aged men and women as well.
Meaning it’s never too early to add these amazing fruits to your daily diet!
In a moment, I’ll share the fascinating details of these new studies—and what they mean for your brain health.
But first, let’s examine why these two berries are SO GOOD for your health…and offer head-to-toe protection.
Berry compounds FIGHT disease
Blueberries and cranberries (along with other types of berries) have high levels of polyphenols called anthocyanins. These are naturally occurring plant pigments that give berries their beautiful colors.
Anthocyanins are also natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They defend plants from excess exposure to solar radiation, infections, and other environmental threats.
This is particularly important for blueberries, which grow in rocky soil, and cranberries, which grow in bogs. Not many plants can survive in those conditions, but these berries’ high anthocyanin content helps them thrive.
So it’s no surprise they can work wonders for the those who consume them, too!
Research shows that the anthocyanins in berries protect people from health problems by supporting energy production in cells, reducing inflammation, and improving metabolic function.
Plus, they influence the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome and support healthy probiotics (“good” bacteria). Many scientific studies show there’s a potent connection between the GI system and the brain—referred to as the gut-brain axis.
As the term implies, the gut-brain access is KEY for supporting cognitive function, protecting the brain…and staving off dementia.
Never too early to protect yourself from dementia
Scientists have studied blueberries’ and cranberries’ effects on dementia for years—and I’ve written about many of those studies.
But, as I mentioned earlier, much of this research has focused on older adults. That’s why I was intrigued when I came across two new studies showing that blueberries and cranberries can help protect against dementia in middle-aged people as well.
For the first study, investigators from the University of Cincinnati focused on middle-aged men and women and the long-term risk of dementia.1
The researchers said prior studies—showing benefits of blueberries for brain function in older adults—made sense in light of the fruit’s metabolic effects.
(As I’ve reported before, dementia can be considered a metabolic disease—in fact, I refer to it as Type III diabetes because of the effect metabolic factors like body weight, diet, and exercise have on lifelong dementia risk reduction and prevention.)
The interesting thing about this study was that the subjects already had some of these metabolic risk factors. But blueberries improved dementia-related cognitive functions in the participants and their metabolic function.
Blueberries, the brain, and metabolism
The researchers gathered 33 Cincinnati-area men and women between the ages of 50 to 65 who were prediabetic, overweight, and had noticed mild memory decline as they aged.
The researchers judged these study participants had an increased risk of dementia and other metabolic conditions in later life.
During the study period of 12 weeks, all participants were given a packet of supplement powder to be mixed with water for consumption with either breakfast or dinner. They were also asked to abstain from berry and fruit consumption.
Half of the participants were given powder that contained the equivalent of half a cup of whole blueberries, while the other half received a placebo.
The participants also took tests that measured cognitive functions like executive function, mental flexibility, and self-control. These particular brain functions have been shown to decline in older people with dementia.
The researchers found that the study participants who took the blueberry powder showed improvements in all of these brain functions.
They were also better able to focus during learning, and had better memory than the placebo group.
In addition, the blueberry powder group had lower fasting insulin (blood sugar) levels and metabolic function (the ability to burn fat for energy) compared to the placebo group.
And if that weren’t enough, the blueberry group was also found to have additional cellular benefits associated with greater longevity, less fatigue and memory loss, and less overall stress on the cells.
Cranberry powder linked to better brain blood flow
The second study found similar effects for middle-aged and older people who consumed cranberry powder.
The study involved 60 healthy adults, ages 50 to 80 years. For 12 weeks, they drank a beverage with either cranberry powder (equal to about 1 cup of fresh cranberries) or a placebo.2
At the beginning and end of the study, the participants were given a series of cognitive tests. They also had biochemical measurements and neuroimaging assessments to observe changes in their blood levels, along with blood flow to various regions of the brain.
Results showed that the participants who took the cranberry powder had significant increases in the levels of anthocyanins in their blood, compared to no increases in the placebo group.
The cranberry group also had increases in blood flow to key areas of the brain that support cognitive function. The net result was improvements in memory.
And this was still the case even when the researchers accounted for the participants’ age and education levels. Meaning that demographic factors like diet and exercise (that might influence cognitive-health risk factors) didn’t have an impact on the results.
Enjoy blueberries daily
The most nutritious (and flavorful) blueberries are the lowbush variety—otherwise known as wild blueberries. And they’re in season right now.
So, if you happen to live (or be on vacation) in their native habitats of New England, Appalachia, or the northeastern parts of the Midwest, consider taking a wild blueberry-picking excursion. Otherwise, I encourage you to find fresh blueberries at a local farmer’s market.
Then, you can eat your harvest by the handful—or add the berries to salads, yogurt, and even salsa. They also pair well with cheese—especially brie.
I’ll often make a sauce of blueberries, chicken stock, fresh orange juice, balsamic vinegar, chives, and a dab of honey to drizzle over salmon or pork.
Cranberries aren’t just for the holidays
Harvesting cranberries isn’t as easy as picking blueberries (bog boots, anyone?), but fortunately you can get them in-season in the fall at your local grocer or farmer’s market—or year-round as dried or frozen fruits.
Like blueberries, cranberries make a unique sauce for chicken, pork, and other meats.
And with the squash harvest just around the corner, baked acorn or butternut squash drizzled with cranberry sauce can be a tasty side dish—or even a main course.
Just be sure to avoid packaged or, worse, canned cranberry sauce—which are usually loaded with preservatives and sugar.
Instead, make your own, homemade cranberry sauce. It’s easier than you might think!
For a simple sauce, mash cranberries with pure maple syrup. For a unique kick, I like to combine cranberries, oranges, olive oil, and chipotle or jalapeño peppers.
The benefits of powders
If you miss blueberry or cranberry season, don’t despair. Both fruits keep their taste and nutrients when frozen. And, as we learned from the studies I just shared, they’re also available in powder form.
I’m a particular fan of water-soluble powdered blueberry extract combined with other healthy ingredients like baobab, rose hips, and rooibos.
Of course, berry powders are only one of the many natural approaches for supporting brain health and preventing or even reversing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
To learn more about my all-natural plan to restore brain health and fight memory loss, or to enroll today, check out my Complete Alzheimer’s Fighting Protocol.
Click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3Y800.
1“Blueberry Supplementation in Midlife for Dementia Risk Reduction.” Nutrients 2022, 14(8), 1619.
2“Chronic Consumption of Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) for 12 Weeks Improves Episodic Memory and Regional Brain Perfusion in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Groups Feasibility Study.” Frontiers in Nutrition, 2022.