Blueberries are rich in polyphenols that may be beneficial to cognitive performance and mood. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of blueberries and blueberry products on measures of cognition and mood. In total, eleven articles (that included 12 studies) were identified using freeze-dried blueberries (n = 9 studies), whole blueberries (n = 2) and blueberry concentrate (n = 1). These studies were conducted in children (n = 5), young adults (n = 1), and older people with either no known cognitive impairment (n = 4) or indicated cognitive impairment (n = 2). Eight studies reported blueberry consumption or supplementation at various doses and time lengths to improve measures of cognitive performance, particularly short- and long-term memory and spatial memory. For mood, one study reported significant between-group improvements in positive affect from blueberry products, whereas four studies reported no improvement. Low risk of bias were observed across all studies. Based on the current evidence, blueberries may improve some measures of cognitive performance. However, considerable differences in study design, dosages, and anthocyanin content hinder between-study comparison. The use of standardized blueberry interventions, consideration of placebo formulations, and consistently reported cognitive performance tools are recommended in future trials. PROSPERO registration no. CRD42018100888.
Keywords: Anthocyanins; Blueberry; Cognition; Flavonoid; Human; Intervention; Mood; Nutraceuticals; Polyphenol.
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