Most of us know that blueberries support strong eyesight and help fight off disease. That's their claim to fame. But according to new research, this small "super food" may hold the power to recharge your mental cylinders in just three weeks.
Researchers from the UK divided adult male rats into three groups. The first group consisted of "young" rats. The second group consisted of "aged" rats that received a normal diet. The third group of "aged" rats got a normal diet supplemented with blueberry powder.
Before starting the rats on their diets, the scientists sent them all through a maze aimed at measuring their mental capacity. The scientists measured how fast the rats got through the maze as well as how often they made "correct" turns.
Out of the gate, the young rats performed "extremely well and very consistently." They got through the maze very quickly and made correct turns about 90 percent of the time.
The two groups of "aged" rats didn't finish anywhere near as well. Both "aged" groups took longer to finish the maze and only made correct turns about 60 percent of the time.
Then the researchers turned up the heat. They started giving one group of aged rats blueberry powder along with their regular diet. And guess what happened...
Aged rats perform like young studs
After just three weeks, the aged rats given blueberries started acting like young studs. In fact, they improved their scores big time. They made correct turns through the maze 83 percent of the time. That's just 7 percent off the pace of the young rats in just three weeks.
Better yet, these aged rats continued to perform at a fast clip for the rest of the study. On the other hand, the older rats given a regular diet saw little to no improvement throughout the 12-week study.
According to researcher Dr. Matt Witterman, "This study not only adds to the claim that eating blueberries is good for you, it also provides support to a diet-based approach that could potentially be used to increase memory capacity and performance in the future."
Blueberries turn your brain's cylinders back on
Blueberries are antioxidants. This means they gobble up harmful free radicals that cause disease throughout your body.
But blueberries aren't your run-of-the-mill antioxidant. They contain nutrients that can cross the blood-brain barrier. This makes them especially good at zapping free radicals in your brain that clog mental function.
And best of all...
According to the famed neuroscientist James Joseph, PhD, blueberries may even help your brain grow new neurons. This would explain why the older rats in the study started performing like young studs.
Heck, I'll eat blueberries at breakfast, lunch, and dinner if it means I'll grow more neurons – instead of lose them – with each passing birthday.
Now, I know, these studies used rats, not people. And not everything that works on rats will work on humans. But Dr. Joseph is currently testing out his theory on men and women. And the early results look promising. According to an advance report, men and women in the study who ate just a cup of blueberries a day significantly outperformed their counterparts.
I'll keep you updated on Joseph's research as it surfaces. In the meantime, get plenty of blueberries into your diet. Drizzle them on oatmeal and yogurt. Make blueberry muffins (with whole wheat flour, of course). Or just keep a bowl of them at your desk.