Remember Your Thrills On Blueberry Hills

What will come from the briar but the berry? ~Irish proverb.

When the water of a place is bad it is safest to drink none that has not been filtered through either the berry of a grape, or else a tub of malt. These are the most reliable filters yet invented. ~Samuel Butler (1835-1902, novelist)

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Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

When I was a kid growing up in Alaska, late summer days were spent outside and whenever we got hungry, we’d gorge on blueberries, giant patches of which were easy to find. In fact, we remembered where the bushes were because we had watched bees nuzzle the tiny white flowers that dusted the bushes in late spring. At the moment, I’m far from a blueberry bush, flowering, ripe or otherwise. I find my blueberries in Chicago grocery stores and prefer the taste of organic berries. They’re great in smoothies.

Turns out drinking blueberries boosts memory and improves learning. A recent study from the American Chemical Society said that, “These preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration.”

Volunteers in the study were in their 70s and drank 2.5 cups of blueberry juice every day for two months. A control group drank something else. There was a significant improvement in learning and memory in the blueberry quaffers. Not only is good memory important for remembering all you practiced yesterday, it can also help your memory for a performance when written music would get in the way and the music must be memorized.

You’d think more details of this study would be found here, where the full-text article can be found, but it’s not true, unless you have money to burn. You have to buy access (24 hrs) for $30 or be part of an institution to gain access to the actual publication. I always wonder how much public money aided the completion of pay-to-read studies, and it makes me wonder if some are paying twice. There should be a disclosure statement somewhere on every study being sold as to how much public funding it received. Other researchers have a publication model I believe nurtures the recursive growth and spread of knowledge: open access journals.

Here’s a link to an open-access study examining how freezing or drying affects antioxidants in blueberries. You can download the whole thing, free of charge. They said, “In contrast, the frozen samples did not show any significant decrease in anthocyanin level during three months of storage. Measurement of the antioxidant activity of anthocyanin extracts from blueberries showed there was no significant difference between fresh, dried, and frozen blueberries.”

Here’s my recipe for a good 2-person smoothie:

Combine in blender (add banana 1st and avoid lodged fruit between the blades):

1 or 2 banana
1 small crisp apple, chopped
5 frozen/fresh strawberries
1/2 cup frozen/fresh blueberries
fresh-squeezed juice of 3 oranges
1/4 c aloe vera juice
add almond-, soy-, or cow milk until you achieve the desired consistency

Have fun and good luck with your practice….

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. simonpurcell says:

    Absolutely right. When will music colleges, school and conservatoires take nutrition seriously?
    Simon P

    1. Soon, I hope. It’ll be interesting to see if Michelle Obama’s focus on school nutrition will make a difference in U.S. obesity. A reminder that we as individuals should not let institutions or bureauacracies control our decisions overmuch.

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