Produced by fermenting fresh blueberries, the uncommon vinegar could have potential for preventing dementia and other types of brain degeneration. Currently, 50 million people live with dementia, and this number is expected to reach 75 million by 2030. With little research finding an effective cure or method of prevention for the disease, researchers have been keen on investigating foods and tonics that may help.
One group of Korean researchers was particularly interested in the compound acetylcholine. People with Alzheimer’s have been shown to have lower levels of the compound, and blocking acetylcholine receptors is known to disrupt learning and memory. Therefore, many researchers suspect the compound is intricately tied to the development of dementia.
Drugs that stop the breakdown of acetylcholine have been invented, but are deemed unsafe for regular use. They don’t last very long, and excess consumption could be toxic to the liver. Blueberry vinegar, however, seemed to have a similar effect without any of the drawbacks of the dangerous drugs. Rodents treated with the blueberry vinegar showed better outcomes on cognitive performance tests and markers of memory.
Researchers agree that further testing is necessary before people start rushing to buy the fermented fruits; but since there’s really no drawback to cooking with it, blueberry vinegar could be a great superfood for boosting your brain health as you age.
Vinegar is a main ingredient in most salad dressings — hence the term “vinaigrette” — so if you’re crafting your own or looking for a healthy way to dress your salad, blueberry vinegars could be a great ingredient.
No food has yet been found that can fully reverse cognitive decline, but it’s comforting to know that there are some memory-boosting foods out there.