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Blueberries may boost memory, concentration in children RESEARCH

A new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition shows that consuming wild blueberries may help children's memory and concentration.

 

The study was conducted during a three-week period from May to July 2012, and included a total of 21 elementary-school children, aged 7–10. Each child enrolled was randomly given one of three beverages containing different amounts of wild blueberries or none at all on one day during each of the three weeks. The children received all three of the beverages over the course of the study, which included either a high dose of wild blueberry (30 g, equal to about 1.75 cups); a low dose of wild blueberry (15 g, equal to about ¾ cup); or a placebo dose (0 g of wild blueberry). Following each serving, the children were given a series of four cognitive tests assessing memory and concentration at different time intervals throughout the day (1.25, 3, and 6 hr post dose). During the test day and prior to it, the children were required to eliminate flavonoids from their diets.

The researchers found a strong correlation between the intake of wild blueberries and performance, with the high dose leading to the best performance and the placebo resulting in the worst performance. One test focused on delayed recognition, where the children were asked to remember 15 words from a list of 50 approximately 20–25 min after hearing them. When compared to performance at baseline, the children recognized more words following consumption of the high dose wild blueberry drinks (a 9% improvement) as compared to the placebo (a 3% decrease). Improved performance on a further task where the children were required to ignore distracting stimuli indicated that concentration levels in the wild blueberry rich groups also increased.

"We have known for some time that anthocyanins promote healthy brain function in adults, but now we can see the beneficial effects of anthocyanins on a variety of memory and attention tasks in children," said Claire Williams, professor at the School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading. "This study suggests a strong link between wild blueberry intake and enhanced cognition in kids."


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