The case for berries’ brain benefits was recently bolstered by a study the authors call the largest and longest of its kind. Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed data on berry consumption among 16,010 women age 70 and older participating in the Nurses’ Health Study.
The women completed dietary questionnaires every four years beginning in 1980, prior to cognitive testing; they were tested for memory and other cognitive function every two years between 1995 and 2001.
The study found that women who consumed two or more half-cup servings of strawberries or one or more half-cups of blueberries per week saw slower mental decline – equivalent to up to two and a half years of delayed cognitive aging. Intakes of anthocyanins and total flavonoids (antioxidant compounds that give berries their vivid colors) were also associated with slower cognitive aging.
Researchers concluded, “Our findings have significant public health implications, as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to reduce memory decline in older adults.” –Annals of Neurology
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