Studies suggest blueberries may have the power to treat depression...
Three studies from a single group lead by Claire Williams at the University of Reading, England, show the power of the blueberry.1,2 The first 2 studies (which were published in a single paper) examined mood 2 hours after a single drink, and the third looked at longer term effects of a daily drink over 4 weeks.1,2 All 3 studies were positive, with effect sizes that ranged from small (0.27) to medium (0.65).
Blueberries have several positive effects on the brain. Most of these effects are because of anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that give the fruit its purplish-blue hue. Anthocyanins are found in other purple-tinted foods, like blackberries, blackcurrants, acai, black “forbidden” rice, eggplant, and the exotic purple varieties of cauliflower, asparagus, and sweet potatoes. Anthocyanins are also featured in red produce like cranberries, cherries, pomegranate, and red cabbage.
1. Khalid S, Barfoot KL, May G, et al. Effects of acute blueberry flavonoids on mood in children and young adults.Nutrients. 2017;9(2):158.
2. Fisk J, Khalid S, Reynolds SA, Williams CM. Effect of 4 weeks daily wild blueberry supplementation on symptoms of depression in adolescents.Br J Nutr. 2020;10:1-8.
3. Spohr L, Soares MSP, Oliveira PS, et al. Combined actions of blueberry extract and lithium on neurochemical changes observed in an experimental model of mania: exploiting possible synergistic effects.Metab Brain Dis. 2019;34(2):605-619.
4. Dowlati Y, Ravindran AV, Segal ZV, et al. Selective dietary supplementation in early postpartum is associated with high resilience against depressed mood.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;114(13):3509-3514.
5. Boespflug EL, Eliassen JC, Dudley JA, et al. Enhanced neural activation with blueberry supplementation in mild cognitive impairment.Nutr Neurosci.2018;21(4):297-305.
6. Miller MG, Hamilton DA, Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B. Dietary blueberry improves cognition among older adults in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(3):1169-1180.
7. Travica N, D'Cunha NM, Naumovski N, et al. The effect of blueberry interventions on cognitive performance and mood: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.Brain Behav Immun. 2020;85:96-105.
8. Rutledge GA, Sandhu AK, Miller MG, et al. Blueberry phenolics are associated with cognitive enhancement in supplemented healthy older adults.Food Funct.2021;12(1):107-118.
9. Whyte AR, Rahman S, Bell L, et al. Improved metabolic function and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults following a single dose of wild blueberry. Eur J Nutr. 2020;10.1007.
10. Bensalem J, Dudonné S, Etchamendy N, et al. Polyphenols from grape and blueberry improve episodic memory in healthy elderly with lower level of memory performance: a bicentric double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study.J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019;74(7):996-1007.