If flatbreads aren’t on your weekly cooking lineup, you’re officially missing out. As one of our favorite staple recipes, they’re quick and easy to make, perfectly portioned, and topped with the nutritious ingredients of your choosing. This Blueberry, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese recipe in particular, though, is a star in our book. Not only because it’s the sweet and savory collab of our dreams, but also because of its hidden health benefits.
The one ingredient in this drool-worthy dish that really steals the show is our favorite summertime staple–the blueberry. Blueberries make an easy, tasty, and nutritious addition to your favorite meals and recipes. In a one-cup serving, you get crave-worthy flavor and beneficial vitamins and minerals, including four essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Additionally, there’s a growing body of evidence examining how blueberries can be a part of eating patterns that support brain health, especially as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
To learn more about this growing research and the best ways to grab a boost of blue, we spoke with Joey Thurman, fitness and nutrition expert and a Blue Crew Ambassador for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
mindbodygreen: Can you tell us a bit more about the new research looking at the relationship between blueberries and brain health?
Joey Thurman: A new research study published in April in Nutrients found that blueberries have cognitive benefits. The researchers found that the equivalent of a half cup of fresh blueberries per day, consumed as freeze-dried blueberry powder, may contribute to protection against cognitive decline when implemented early in at-risk individuals.
This is an important finding given that in the United States, nearly six million older adults live with dementia. Since limited treatments for cognitive decline exist, preventative approaches and mitigation of risk through proper nutrition are of increasing importance. Given that neurodegenerative changes associated with cognitive decline start in midlife, this research indicates that blueberries may present an opportunity for early intervention, by targeting modifiable risks like poor nutrition and related metabolic disturbance.
mbg: How do blueberries work to support brain health?
JT: There are many nutrients that can help support brain health–one that is found in fruits and vegetables is anthocyanins. Compared to other popular fruits, berries are uniquely high in anthocyanins, plant compounds that are responsible for their vibrant blue, red and purple color. Research shows that the anthocyanins found in blueberries (163mg/100g) may help to improve mild cognitive performance in older adults.