Systematic Review of the Effects of Blueberry on Cognitive Performance as We Age

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Jun 18;74(7):984-995. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz082.


The effect of flavonoid-rich food, such as blueberries, on cognitive function has been subject to a growing amount of research interest in recent years. Epidemiological, prospective, preclinical, and clinical trials have revealed positive cognitive benefits from flavonoid interventions, particularly in relation to the amelioration of cognitive decline in older adults. This review will specifically consider the existing clinical research from both acute and chronic blueberry interventions on cognition in human subjects. The results of 11 studies are reported with 4 studies considering blueberry intervention with children aged 7-10 years, 4 considering adults aged 60 years and older, and 3 considering adults suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Findings from these studies indicate that cognitive benefits may be found for delayed memory and executive function in children and for delayed memory, executive function, and psychomotor function in older healthy and MCI adults. There is less evidence to suggest positive benefits of blueberry intervention on working memory. Recommendations for future research, including dose used, cognitive tasks, and age groups considered, are proposed.

Keywords: Anthocyanins; Blueberry; Cognition; Flavonoids; Life-course.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging* / drug effects
  • Aging* / psychology
  • Blueberry Plants*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Executive Function / drug effects*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Repression, Psychology


  • Flavonoids