Blueberry: The Memory Super Fruit

Life is a collection of moments, and our brains are a marvel of endless storage of those collections. Memories and our lifetime’s knowledge are our most precious assets. But is there a way to preserve our knowledge for longer? In other words, how can we optimize our brain’s memory capacity? The answer could be in your local fruit shop.

Some fruits and plant-based foods contain specific bioactive compounds called anthocyanins. Blueberries are high in anthocyanins, and it is responsible for the deep purple and blue colour of blueberries.

Research has shown that consuming anthocyanins-rich foods can protect our brain and improve cognition by improving cerebrovascular flow, a marker of cognitive impairment. It can also protect us against neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

A couple of studies by McNamara et al., 2018 and Miller et al., 2018 replicated adding one cup of whole blueberry to the diet for 24 weeks and 90 days, respectively. Both studies indicated positive outcomes in improving memory discrimination and reducing repetition errors and cognitive symptoms.

Another study by Whyte and Williams, 2015 gave one cup (200g) of fresh whole blueberries with semi-skimmed milk, matching the vitamin C and sugar for 8 children aged between 8 and 10 years old, and compared with placebo semi-skimmed milk given to another 8 children. After just 2 hours after consumption, testing showed improvements in the delayed recall ability of the subjects.

But does that mean that one cup of blueberries per day can optimize our brain’s memory capacity?

A review of eleven research trials compared changes in cognitive performance and mood in more than 398 participants of all ages and health status. They were given a variety of blueberry and blueberry products (including juices, whole blueberries, and freeze-dried powder preparations) or control (non-polyphenol components such as vitamin C, simple sugar, or energy and flavor matched controls).

Ten of the eleven included studies reported a wide range of cognitive improvements, particularly in short- and long-term memory and spatial memory in those with the blueberry intervention but reported no effect on mood.

However, mixed results were seen due to the notable differences in the anthocyanin levels in blueberry intervened groups. Anthocyanin content of blueberries ranged from 1.55mg to 387mg/day. Even when two studies used the same quantity of one cup of whole blueberries (200g), they had a noticeable variation of 143 mg and 631 mg of anthocyanins per cup, which also influenced the research results. These variations mainly stemmed from growing methods, processing, and storage conditions (i.e., freezing, heating).

Thus, the optimal whole-fruit blueberry dose for cognitive performance is yet to be established. Nonetheless, the benefit of blueberry goes beyond memory and cognitive performance. It possesses various benefits, including heart protection, blood sugar control, and anticoagulant actions.

4 simple ways to increase blueberries in your diet:

  1. Add blueberries to your cooking and preparation, such as smoothies, ice poles, cheesecakes, salad, yogurt, and your favourite oatmeal or cereal
  2. Blend it with water and turn it into ice cubes that are easy to add to juice and other beverages
  3. Have them as a snack. Frozen or fresh!
  4. Dwarf blueberry plants can grow in pots, so you can have a blueberry tree in your backward or visit your local community garden


Travica, N., D’Cunha, N. M., Naumovski, N., Kent, K., Mellor, D. D., Firth, J., Georgousopoulou, E. N., Dean, O. M., Loughman, A., Jacka, F., & Marx, W. (2020). The effect of blueberry interventions on cognitive performance and mood: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity, 85, 96–105.


Blueberry Smoothie


1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

½ cup of Greek plain yogurt

1 cup of full cream milk

1 teaspoon of squeezed lemon juice

½ banana

½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Step 1

Blend blueberries, yogurt, milk, lemon juice, banana, and vanilla in a blender until frothy, scraping down the sides of the blender if needed.

Step 2

Divide between 2 glasses and serve immediately.