Blueberry Juice May Boost Your Memory

You're almost done with that crossword puzzle you've been working on for days, but 9-down is just out of your grasp. The answer is on the tip of your tongue, though, and you know that you know the word. If only there were a magic elixir you could take that would allow you to remember everything you used to know.

It may not be magic, but scientists at the University of Cincinnati have convincing evidence that a simple, readily available drink-blueberry juice-may hold the key to enhancing memory. In a study reported in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 16 study participants who were in their seventies and older and who were having memory lapses were given either 20 ounces of blueberry juice daily or 20 ounces of a placebo. The placebo didn't contain any fruit juice. After 12 weeks, participants were tested on memory function, including word association and list learning. The results? The blueberry-juice drinkers showed a significant increase in memory and recall abilities. The study also suggested that the juice drinkers experienced a reduction in symptoms of depression and may even have lowered their glucose levels.

Why does blueberry juice apparently help your brain remember things? The answer lies in the phytochemicals with which blueberries are brimming. These phytochemicals contain antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds that apparently improve brain function. While the scientists don't yet know if blueberry juice is superior to whole blueberries, at least one dietitian points out that 20 ounces of blueberry juice contain a great deal of calories and suggests that people with weight issues cut their intake elsewhere if they intend to chug the stuff. And since all berries contain antioxidants, it can't hurt to eat and drink more of all varieties. It certainly beats downing a can of soda any day.

Sources: Arthritis Foundation,; Krikorian R, Shidler M D, Nash, T A, Kalt W, Vinqvist-Tymchuk M R, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph J A. "Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults."  Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Online January 4, 2010.