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Happy Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month! Brain health is important at every age in the lifecycle, but especially relevant for older adults. Many factors such as sleep, daily movement, and more play a role in keeping our body’s command center performing at its best – and nutrition is no exception. Evidence suggests that eating a diet containing a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and seafood during adulthood is associated with lower risk of age-related cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.1-5

Did you know that nature’s favorite berry – the blueberry – may have a role to play, too? You heard that right. In fact, a growing body of scientific evidence is examining how blueberries can be part of eating patterns to support brain health, especially as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.6-9

Let’s show our brains a little extra love for Brain Health Month. Check out these top 10 ways to grab a boost of blue to fuel your noggin:

  • Dip into frozen yogurt to create frozen bites, or make your own frozen yogurt cups.
  • Cook down into sauces to top salmon, chicken, or any lean protein.
  • Add to salsa for a sweet, fruity touch and dip in!
  • Blend frozen blueberries with a sweetener of choice and water (as needed) to make a sorbet. Freeze until hard and add a scoop to seltzer, kombucha, champagne or beverage of choice.
  • Puree and mix with olive oil, balsamic vinegar for a tangy salad dressing.
  • Boil frozen blueberries with honey or sweetener of choice for five minutes to create a jam-like sauce that can be added to lattes or cocktails.
  • Whip into overnight oats for a filling and delicious breakfast.
  • Pair with lean protein or other grill-worthy fruits like pineapple or peaches for a summer kabob.
  • Roll into homemade fruit leather for a tasty treat.
  • Add as a novel ingredient to your savory food faves – like pizza and nachos.

For more blueberry inspiration, check out our recipe collection and blueberry.org.

References
12020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Systematic Reviews of the Dietary Patterns, Foods and Nutrients, and Health Outcomes Subcommittee. (2021). https://nesr.usda.gov/2020-dietaryguidelines-advisory-committee-systematic-reviews/dietary-patterns-subcommittee/dietary-patternsneurocognitive-health.
2Ekstrand B, Scheers N, Rasmussen MK, Young JF, Ross AB, Landberg R. Brain foods – the role of diet in brain performance and health. Nutr Rev. 2020 Sep 29:nuaa091.
3Gehlich K. H., Beller J., Lange-Asschenfeldt B., Köcher W., Meinke M. C., Lademann J. (2019). Fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with improved mental and cognitive health in older adults from non-Western developing countries. Public Health Nutr. 22 689–696.
4Nurk E., Refsum H., Drevon C.A., Tell G.S., Nygaard H.A., Engedal K., and Smith A.D. 2010. Cognitive performance among the elderly in relation to the intake of plant foods. The Hordaland Health Study. Br. J. Nutr. 104(8): 1190–1201.
5Miller MG, Thangthaeng N, Poulose SM, Shukitt-Hale B. Role of fruits, nuts, and vegetables in maintaining cognitive health. Exp Gerontol. 2017 Aug;94:24-28. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2016.12.014. Epub 2016 Dec 21. PMID: 28011241.
6Travica N, D’Cunha NM, Naumovski N, Kent K, Mellor DD, Firth J, Georgousopoulou EN, Dean OM, Loughman A, Jacka F, Marx W. The effect of blueberry interventions on cognitive performance and mood: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Brain Behav Immun. 2020; 85:96-105.
7Bowtell JL, Aboo-Bakkar Z, Conway ME, Adlam AR, Fulford J. Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017; 42(7):773-779.
8Krikorian R, Shidler MD, Nash TA, Kalt W, Vinqvist-Tymchuk MR, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA. Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. J Agric Food Chem. 2010, 58:3996-4000.
9Wilhelmina Kalt, Aedin Cassidy, Luke R Howard, Robert Krikorian, April J Stull, Francois Tremblay, Raul Zamora-Ros, Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 11, Issue 2, March 2020, Pages 224–236.

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