Want a younger brain? A polyphenol-rich extract of grape and blueberry found to reduce cognitive decline

Polyphenol extracts from grapes and blueberry help reduce cognitive decline, according to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology; Biological and Medical Sciences.

In the study, French and Canadian researchers examined the effects of the consumption of polyphenol grape and blueberry extract on memory. The researchers conducted an earlier study in a mouse model in which they found that berries, berry extracts, or isolated flavonoids could hamper age-related cognitive decline. (Related: Berry consumption linked to lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly.)

For the current study, the researchers recruited 215 healthy people aged between 60 and 70 years old and whose body mass index (BMI) ranges from 20 to 30. The participants either consumed 300 milligrams (mg) of the grape and blueberry extract or a placebo in two capsules every day for six months. They also had three visits with the researchers: a screening visit, a baseline measurement session, and a final visit. Moreover, they performed memory function tests.

Results revealed that the supplementation with the grape and blueberry extract enhanced the memory of participants with a lower level of memory performance. The researchers emphasized that the poorer performing participants exhibited the most improvements.

“Subjects who were performing like 83-year-olds at the beginning, they were performing like 69-year-olds at the end,” said Barry Ritz, one of the researchers.

The health benefits of grapes and blueberries

Both grapes and blueberries are ideal snacks. Why? Because not only do they taste delicious, but they are low-calorie, fat-free, and nutrient-rich.

There are many varieties of blueberries. Some varieties are harvested as early as April, while others are harvested late in the summer. This means that it is easy to get your supply of fresh blueberries because they are available for a long season. On the other hand, the grape family includes thousands of varieties that are classified according to color and whether they are wine or table grapes. Table grapes are sweeter and less acidic than those meant to be made into wine.

It is important to store both fruits in the refrigerator and avoid washing them until you are ready to eat them because their quality and nutritional value both diminish fast.

Grapes and blueberries are both rich in soluble fiber, although blueberries contain more fiber. A cup of blueberries contains 3.6 grams of fiber, while a cup of grapes only contains 1.4 grams. Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of their natural sugars that regulates blood glucose. Soluble fiber is good for the heart because it lowers cholesterol levels. Grapes and blueberries also provide insoluble fiber that adds bulk to stool and prevents constipation. Men should consume 36 grams of fiber every day, while women should consume 25 grams.

Grapes and blueberries almost have the same nutrients. Both fruits are also great sources of vitamin C. However, blueberries provide more vitamin C than grapes. A cup of blueberries has 14 mg, which is three times more than the amount in grapes. Both fruits give almost 20 percent of your daily intake of vitamin K and two to 10 percent of iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and potassium. Grapes contain more potassium than blueberries.

Moreover, grapes and blueberries are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals: resveratrol and flavonoids. Blueberries contain more flavonoids, while grapes contain more resveratrol. Flavonoids may also help fight cancer by eliminating potential cancer-causing substances in the body and stopping the growth of cancerous cells. Resveratrol, on the other hand, may help keep the heart healthy by relaxing blood vessels and reducing the risk of developing blood clots.

Read more news stories and studies on keeping the brain healthy by going to Brain.news.

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