blueberry prevents depression in adolescents

Blueberries may be blue, but you don’t have to be. The blue berry may be the answer for adolescents who are suffering from the blues. Could blueberries really be an antidepressant berry?

We seem to be on a berry theme: last week, we wrote about how raspberries could help diabetics and how a combination of blueberries and grapes can boost the brains of students. Could there be other ways that blueberries help students’ minds? Maybe!

Adolescents are vulnerable to depression. The teenage years are an important period for cognitive and emotional maturation.

A large body of research has shown that healthy eating improves your mind and mood as much as it improves your body. Healthy diets, including more fruits and vegetables, lead to more positive mood in college students. The fruit and vegetable laden Mediterranean diet also leads to less depression, as does the fruit and vegetable rich DASH diet. The most convincing evidence yet comes from a systematic review of 61 studies that showed that eating lots of fruit and vegetables leads to higher levels of optimism and lower levels of depression.

one of the interesting findings of the large systematic review was that citrus, green leafy vegetables and berries may be especially powerful antidepressant features of the healthy diet. This is interesting because berries are loaded in flavonoids, and diets rich in flavonoids are known to reduce the risk of depression by 7-10%.

Blueberries are one of the most flavonoid rich berries of them all. So, it is interesting that a new study has shown that supplementing with wild blueberries reduces depression in teenagers.

This new double-blind study gave healthy teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 either a placebo or a wild blueberry supplement containing 253mg of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are very powerful flavonoids. The teenagers who got the wild blueberry supplement had significantly fewer depression symptoms. The blueberries did not affect anxiety, suggesting that they specialize in depression.

Blueberry would be a safe, simple, inexpensive way of preventing depression in adolescents.


Br J Nutr 2020 Mar 10:1-22


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For much more on treating and preventing depression, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia.

For comprehensive help with depression, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven now.


The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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