Can a strawberry a day keep dementia away?
A study published in the journal Nutrients last month suggests it might be possible.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) studied a total of 30 patients aged 50 to 65 who had symptoms of mild cognitive decline.
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Participants were asked to avoid eating berries and instead add a packet of the powdered supplement to their water each morning, according to a UC news release.
For half the group, the powder contained strawberries.
Next, participants were asked to complete tests to measure their memory and other cognitive functions, as well as their mood, signs of depression and metabolic data.
Researchers determined that people who drank the strawberry-infused powder had “reduced memory interference” compared to those who didn’t drink it.
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“Reduced memory interference refers to less confusion of semantically related terms during a test of learning a list of words,” said lead researcher Robert Krikorian, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Medicine. Behavioral Neuroscience from the UC College of Medicine, in a press release.
“This phenomenon is generally thought to reflect better executive control in terms of resistance to the intrusion of non-target words during memory tests.”
Those who received the strawberry powder also saw a reduction in depressive symptoms, better emotional control and better problem solving compared to the placebo group, Krikorian noted.
This study follows previous research published by Krikorian in 2022, which found that blueberries may also reduce the risk of middle-aged people developing dementia later in life.
The health benefits of strawberries are thought to come from antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer. cardiac diseaseinflammation, diabetes and obesity.
Fruits too contains micronutrients called ellagitannins and ellagic acid, both of which have been shown to benefit cognitive and metabolic health, Krikorian added.
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“There is epidemiological data suggesting that people who regularly consume strawberries or blueberries have slower cognitive decline with age,” he said.
The researcher also hypothesized that strawberries might improve cognitive function by reducing inflammation in the brain.
“Executive abilities begin to decline in midlife and excess abdominal fat, as with insulin resistance and obesity, will tend to increase inflammation, including in the brain ” Krikorian said in the statement.
“Our sample of middle-aged, overweight, prediabetic people could therefore be considered to have higher levels of inflammation that contributed to at least mild impairment in executive skills,” he continued.
“Strawberries contain beneficial nutrients including anthocyanins, ellagitannins, and ellagic acid, all of which may help improve metabolic health while reducing inflammation.”
“As a result, the beneficial effects we observed could be related to the moderation of inflammation in the strawberry group.”
Looking ahead, Krikorian called for more studies to analyze larger groups of people consuming varying doses of strawberry-containing supplements.
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Based in New Jersey Registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, author of “2 Day Diabetes Diet” and creator of The Blood Sugar Fix, noted that strawberries are an excellent source of antioxidants that can fight inflammation in the body. (She was not involved in the UC study.)
“Strawberries contain beneficial nutrients including anthocyanins, ellagitannins and ellagic acid, all of which can help improve metabolic health while reducing inflammation,” she said.
“Since insulin resistance is a precursor to various diseases, including dementia, adding nutrient-dense foods to the diet that help reverse insulin resistance should have a positive impact on the cognition.”
Palinski-Wade also noted that eating strawberries has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve antioxidant capacity, both of which may help combat dementia risk.
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“Although these studies suggest that strawberries may have cognitive benefits, additional research with larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods is needed to confirm these findings, but the results so far are very promising,” a she added.
Fox News Digital has reached out to UC researchers for additional comment.
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