"A Cup of Blueberries a Day...
Keeps Neurological Problems Away"
October 18, 1999

You have probably heard the saying:

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Now, because of new research published in the Journal of Neuroscience (September 15, 1999), we may have a new saying:

"A cup of blueberries a day keeps neurological problems away."

Scientists who published this new research found that old rats who had blueberry supplements added to their diets showed improved balance and memory. The amount of blueberries was equivalent to about one cup per day for humans.

Blueberries, as well as other fruits and vegetables, may have special properties that reverse some signs of aging. These foods are high in chemicals that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are used by the body to fight free radicals. Free radicals are produced when cells convert oxygen to energy. A few free radicals are not dangerous, but too many can damage cell membranes, proteins and DNA. This may kill the cell. One theory proposes that too many free radicals are responsible for the problems associated with aging.

In the new research, "elderly" rats (19 months old) were fed blueberry, strawberry or spinach supplements for 8 weeks. Rats that received the fruit and vegetable diets (especially the blueberry supplement) performed better on balance, coordination and memory tasks compared to rats that did not receive the supplements.

It is unclear exactly how the blueberries worked to reverse signs of aging and experiments in humans are necessary to see if the results are the same as in rats. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that new treatments for neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease may be just around the corner...perhaps in the fruit and vegetable section of your grocery store!


  1. Joseph, J.A., Shukitt-Hale, B., Denisova, N.A., Bielinski, D., Martin, A., McEwen, J.J. and Bickford, P.C. Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation, J. Neuroscience, 19:8114-8121, 1999.

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