When we hear about the benefits of flavonoids in berries, we usually think of an older population that benefits from its effects on cognition, but a study released this month found that drinking wild blueberry juice improves cognition in children as young as 7 to 10 years old.
The children in this study consumed 200 ml of wild blueberry juice which averaged about 253 mg anthocyanins and then tested for verbal memory and reading efficiency immediately after drinking the juice and 2 hours, 3 hours, and 6 hours thereafter. There was also a placebo group to control the results.
The children who drank wild blueberry juice demonstrated enhanced verbal memory on the auditory verbal learning task test, but they did not show any significant effects on reading efficiency. Even 3 hours post consumption, significant effects were seen in accuracy on a demanding executive function task, and this continued in the time window up to 6 hours post consumption.
The age of 7-10 years old represents a growth spurt in the frontal lobe that increases cognitive development in relation to executive functions and a progression of cognitive capabilities. Supplementing with wild blueberry juice at this stage of cognitive development may be very beneficial for children in this age group.
The amount of wild blueberry juice used in the study is equivalent to 30 g of freeze-dried blueberries, or 1 ½ cups of fresh blueberries. Blueberries are very high in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoids contained in the polyphenols of plants. Berries have regarded as an important source of phenols and flavonoids and have been associated with cognitive benefits for quite a while. Berry fruit consumption increases short-term and working memory and reverses age-related cognitive declines, while also acting as a neuroprotectant that can also delay age-related cognitive disease processes, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Barfoot, Katie L., et al. “The Effects of Acute Wild Blueberry Supplementation on the Cognition of 7–10-Year-Old Schoolchildren.” European Journal of Nutrition, vol. 58, no. 7, Oct. 2019, pp. 2911–2920., https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-018-1843-6.