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Combination of Blueberries and Grapes Can Boost Memory

We’ve all heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but new research shows it’s not apples that are best for brain health. Instead it’s the combination of grapes and blueberries that together seem to boost brain power most. 

Past research has shown that increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols, like grapes and acai berries may have the ability to slow age-related physical decline. 

And while eating the individual fruits and vegetables are good for boosting your intake of these powerful nutrients, one new study found that the combination of specific foods may be even better for brain health. 

In a number of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, researchers from Bordeaux and Quebec tested memory, spatial recognition and learning on four separate groups of both young and old mice.1

In the trials half of the mice in each group were given a diet rich in polyphenol extracts from grapes and blueberries, while the other half was given their standard diet. 

What they found is that a grape extract that was rich in polyphenols was even more beneficial when it was paired with a polyphenol – rich extract from blueberries. They also found that the combination produced a much more robust effect than either one used on its own. 

Throughout the trials, researchers were able to demonstrate that the older mice fed the polyphenol-rich diet spent much more time examining objects that were new to them. They also ignored objects that were familiar. In addition, they could remember where the exit was in their swimming pool even though the start point was changed with each swim session. In general, the researchers observed the mice to live a longer, more mentally sharp life during the course of the trials. 

In contrast, 52% of the mice who received the normal diet passed away before even one mouse from the polyphenol group died. 

Once the trials were completed, the researchers discovered that the mice fed the polyphenol-rich diet also had much higher blood plasma and brain levels of polyphenols too. 

The data collected presented some exciting conclusions that daily supplementation of blueberry and grape extract together had a significant impact on memory and brain function. It also showed an increase in neurogenesis, which is the creation and repair of new brain cells. These changes were most profound in the hippocampus. There was also an increase in neuro-plasticity, a key marker in a variety of age-related cognitive issues. 

The researchers noted, “although the exact mechanism is difficult to pinpoint, our data provides evidence of both direct and indirect effects on the brain. The well-being of aged people is closely linked to good memory performance and proper brain functioning, which very often deteriorates during aging, together the data obtained in this study are in line with the hypothesis that optimized preventive nutrition may promote the maintenance of a satisfactory cognitive state in elderly subjects and may thus prevent or delay dementia, and contribute to healthy aging.”

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References:

1. Bensalem, Julien et al. "Polyphenols From Grape And Blueberry Improve Episodic Memory In Healthy Elderly With Lower Level Of Memory Performance: A Bicentric Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study." The Journals of Gerontology: Series A (2018)

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