Want to forget your troubles? Better remember your blueberries. New research suggests blueberries might brighten your mood. British researchers fed young adults about a cup and a half of blueberries, then measured effects on mood, memory and decision making. Mood scores rose 15% (see chart below) five hours after blueberry consumption.
The mood-enhancing mechanism? Hard to say for sure, but previous research has linked anthocyanins in berries with reduced inflammation — and while chronic inflammation may push disease risk up, it could also pull you down emotionally. Indeed, brain mapping analyses found that a 20% rise in inflammation markers produced a 10% dip in mood scores. Also, a cup and a half of blueberries will provide you nearly 40% of your needed vitamin C — higher levels of which were linked to a 34% drop in mood disturbances in one study.
Additional studies into the health benefits of blueberries offer plenty of other reasons to smile — like better bone mass, and bone mineral density, in one rodent study. Other basic research found blueberries might help reverse some of the loss of memory and motor coordination associated with aging. Cutting edge studies even suggest blueberries might one day help protect astronauts from cosmic radiation. In addition to lifting spirits, blueberries add a dash of lively color and luscious flavor to Cinnamon Pear-Berry Smoothie.
Bonus: Take advantage of summer weather to enjoy the mood-boosting benefits of exercise. Aerobic workouts lift levels of feel-good brain chemicals, while yoga has been found to elevate mood scores.
Published July 1, 2012