Two new studies have shown that blueberries bring brain benefits for both young and old
In the first researchers from the University of Reading, UK, looked at the effect of the daily consumption of a blueberry beverage (over a period of approximately one week) in 50 children and 21 young people.
Results showed that the flavonoid-rich blueberry drink, supplying 253 mg of anthocyanins, improved mood (or positive affect, PA) in both children and young adults. There was no effect on anxiety (or negative affect, NA)
“Although preliminary, these results are intriguing and warrant focused investigation of the relationship between flavonoids and mood, as well as with mental health more generally,” wrote the researchers in Nutrients.
“A low PA is more highly linked to depression, and high NA is more closely related to anxiety. Thus, these data suggest that the effect of flavonoid consumption on mood may be specific to depressive disorders, rather than pervasive across different mood states.”
How does it work?
While the study was not deigned to show how blueberries influenced mood, the researchers proposed two possibilities: The first involves a potential indirect effect on blood flow in the brain, which would enhance executive functioning, and “thus helping to inhibit cognitive features (i.e., rumination) that maintain depression”.
Another possibility is direct inhibition of the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) by blueberry anthocyanins.