Steven Pratt, M.D., author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls blueberries "brain berries." He cites research that demonstrates blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress and thus the effects of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. In one study, aging rats were fed blueberries and then given memory tests. The older rats that were fed blueberries performed as well as younger rats that were not fed blueberries. The phytochemical anthocyanin improves memory and mental fluidity. As mentioned, anthocyanins are powerful high antioxidant flavonoids that give blueberries their color. Anthocyanins are readily absorbed into the bloodstream and easily cross the blood-brain barrier. There they penetrate a region of the brain known as the striatum, a hub of memory and motor function. The striatum is of special concern to those afflicted with Parkinson's disease. A diet rich in blueberries has demonstrated protection against brain cell loss, memory deficits, learning disability, and loss of motor coordination. Blueberries also stimulate the growth of new nerve cells and facilitate better communication between nerve cells via a process known as transduction.

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