Blueberries: Are They the Next Big Thing in Nutritional Supplements?

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles | June 19, 2018

Blueberries are incredibly rich in nutrients that can give you a major health boost. With blueberry season in full swing, it’s the best time to grab a basket of this sweet and tart antioxidant superfood at the local farmers market or grocery store.

Blueberries provide numerous health benefits, from promoting heart health to reducing your risk for certain cancers. And if you need another reason to enjoy this tasty fruit, a study has shown that supplementing your diet with blueberries may also help improve cognitive health, especially as you grow older.

In March 2017, the European Journal of Nutrition published a study titled “Dietary blueberry improves cognition among older adults in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”. The study focused on older adults who commonly suffer from decreased mobility and cognition. Researchers tested whether or not consuming blueberries would improve both motor and cognitive functions in older adults which, in turn, would help improve their quality of life.

Participants of this study included 13 men and 24 women between 60 and 75 years of age. They were split up into two groups. Each day for 90 days, one group was given 24 grams of freeze-dried blueberries, the equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries, and the other group was given a blueberry-flavored placebo.

Each participant took part in balance tests, gait analyses, and cognitive tests before the study began, halfway through, and at the end of the study. Through these tests, researchers found a significant improvement in executive cognitive function with the blueberry group compared to the placebo group. However, they did not see any improvement in balance or gait.

The results led the researchers to believe that consumption of blueberries can help improve cognitive health in some areas. While additional studies need to be conducted to further support these findings and expand our knowledge of this nutrient-rich berry, there’s no denying that adding blueberries to your diet can help improve your overall health!

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles's profile picture

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles

Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.

Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/ Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.

She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.

Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!

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