When it comes to "brain food," grapes get all the attention. And while grapes are powerful brain protectors, it's time for blueberries to share in the acclaim. These delicious berries are brain-healing powerhouses that work to protect your brain from disease in several different ways, and increasing amounts of research show that blueberries can prevent or reverse age-related memory loss.
First, blueberries contain a group of plant nutrients called flavonoids, which protect both the watery and the fatty parts of your brain against free radical damage. Second, blueberries contain salicylic acid—the natural version of aspirin— which helps prevent arterial clogging linked to stroke.
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Third, other as-yet-unidentified compounds in blueberries help to increase levels of heat shock proteins in your body. There is a fourth mechanism by which blueberries improve brain health: Consuming blueberries on a regular basis increases your body’s production of the feel-good brain chemical messenger called dopamine. Dopamine helps to control your brain’s reward and pleasure center, and levels tend to be low in people with brain diseases such as Parkinson's.
Eat at least ½ cup of blueberries daily, at least five days a week. They can be fresh or frozen but should not be canned or sweetened. It's easy to add blueberries to smoothies or to blend them and make ice pops in freezer molds.