The flavanoids found naturally in blueberries can significantly improve memory and attention, particularly in children, exciting new research shows. In a recent double-blind trial, a group of 7-10 year olds were given a drink containing blueberries, then tested on their speed and accuracy with a computer programme. The children given the flavanoid-rich blueberry beverage demonstrated reaction times that were 9% quicker than those who drank a placebo, without any loss of accuracy. Also, the effect seemed more noticeable as the tests became harder. Previous trials by the same research group have shown that consuming blueberries can improve mood and simple memory recall in primary school children.
Professor Claire Williams of the University of Reading, UK has published breakthrough research demonstrating the significant effect of blueberries on memory and attention in children. Professer Williams is the Chair of Neuroscience in the School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences, and is at the forefront of research into the health benefits of plant-derived chemicals. She has found that the flavanoids found naturally in blueberries can significantly improve memory and attention - particularly in children.
“Students can really benefit from the short-term memory boost blueberries offer if you consume them before an exam,” she says.
Blueberries New Zealand Chairman Dan Peach says Professor Williams’ studies on the links between diet and brain function are at the leading edge of current scientific research and the results have significant implications across all age groups.
“We’ve always known our wonderful fruit is packed full of goodness, but to have these additional benefits confirmed by Professor Williams’ research is really exciting for us.
Last summer, New Zealand families bought fresh blueberries around 3.5 times each, meaning each household consumed an average volume of 730g.
Fresh, New Zealand-grown blueberries are a nutrition powerhouse packed with antioxidants and they contain higher antioxidant levels than just about every other fruit and vegetable and have one of the lowest sugar contents of all fruits.
Blueberries are also low in fat and sodium, contain phytonutrients and are an excellent source of vitamin C, fibre and manganese. The fruit plays a vital role in promoting overall good health, particularly when it comes to gut health, anti-ageing, brain health and heart disease.
The blueberry season in New Zealand runs from December to March.