Blueberries linked to major blood pressure, memory and aging benefits

Several recently published studies highlight various health benefits associated with blueberries, the small blue and purple berries readily available in most grocery stores. Compared to other popular fruits, blueberries have the highest quantities of antioxidants, as well as other phytochemicals that may lower blood pressure, improve memory, and make aging a healthier process.

A total of five studies on blueberries were recently published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. The research looks at different possible health effects associated with eating berries, including changes in inflammation, memory, and avoiding age-related diseases as we age.

According to one study, eating around one cup of blueberries every day may decrease systolic blood pressure, which is the top number in a blood pressure reading that indicates the amount of pressure on one's arteries when the heart muscle contracts. As well, eating that amount of blueberries was also found to improve blood vessel function, benefits that were linked to phytochemicals called anthocyanins.

In addition, the studies found a link between eating blueberries and improved cognitive function and memory in older adults. One study cites the polyphenols found in blueberries and grapes as the catalyst for improved episodic memory in elderly individuals who had poor memory performance, but who were otherwise healthy.

Though it may seem too good to be true, the benefits continue from there. Another study found an association between eating blueberries and other health benefits, including a reduction in inflammation, potentially helping an individual age without developing the diseases that typically manifest in one's older years.

Past research has found similar health benefits linked with blueberries, a so-called 'super fruit.' In addition to being sold as fresh and frozen produce in a number of stories, blueberries are also commonly available as an herbal tea. A number of other berries also contain high levels of phenols and other beneficial compounds, as well.