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Haskap Berries May Improve Memory, Blood Pressure

A recent study suggests that extracts from dark blue haskap berries may help improve episodic memory and blood pressure in mature adults.


Participants in the study included 20 people between the ages of 62 and 81 who were given haskap berry extract containing either 100 mg of anthocyanins, 200 mg of anthocyanins, 400 mg of anthocyanins, or a sugar-matched placebo. Participants visited the lab on five separate occasions each separated by 1 week, and were given a different dose of intervention, in counterbalanced order, on each visit.


During each visit, the participants consumed a standardized low-polyphenol breakfast, then completed a 30-minute battery of tests that measured cognition, mood, and blood pressure. The participants then consumed the intervention drink and underwent the same battery of tests 90 minutes after consumption.


The researchers found that the highest dose of haskap berry extract was associated with an average 2.6 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure and an average reduction of 2.4 beats per minute for heart rate. Additionally, both the 200 mg and 400 mg doses were associated with improvements in word recognition scores and episodic memory.


No differences were observed for mood, working memory, or executive function,


Researchers from the University of Reading in the UK conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 10, 2018, in the European Journal of Nutrition.


Haskap berries are higher in antioxidants than blueberries and blackberries and are native to northern Japan and Russia. They are described as tasting like a combination of different, more common berries and are also called edible honeysuckle, blue honeysuckle, and honeyberry.

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