This might be sweet news for strawberry lovers.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati say eating strawberries daily may help reduce the risk of dementia in some middle-aged people. Their findings were published last month in the journal Nutrients.
During the 12-week study, 30 overweight patients who complained of mild cognitive impairment were asked to abstain from eating berries except for one daily packet of powdered supplement mixed with milk. water and consumed for breakfast.
Half of the participants, aged 50 to 65, received a powder containing the equivalent of a cup of whole strawberries (the standard serving), while the other half received a placebo.
The researchers tracked the participants’ long-term memory, mood and metabolic health.
They found that members of the strawberry powder group performed better on a test of learning a list of words and had a significant reduction in depressive symptoms.
“Strawberries and blueberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been implicated in a variety of health benefits of the berries, such as metabolic and cognitive improvements,” said Robert Krikorian, professor emeritus in the department of psychiatry and neuroscience. Behavioral Studies from the UC College of Medicine, which studied the health effects of eating blueberries last year.
“There is epidemiological data suggesting that people who regularly consume strawberries or blueberries have a slower rate of cognitive decline with age,” his statement continues.
Krikorian noted that strawberries also contain ellagitannins and ellagic acid, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-cancer properties.
Krikorian said the strawberries studied in his study may have improved 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 “, he explained.
“Thus, our middle-aged, overweight, prediabetic sample could be considered to have higher levels of inflammation that contributed to at least mild impairment in executive skills. Accordingly, the beneficial effects we observed could be related to the moderation of inflammation in the strawberry group.
Future research should include more participants and different doses of strawberries, Krikorian said.
The university acknowledged that its research was supported by the California Strawberry Commission, with funding and a donation of strawberry powders and placebo – but said the group had no role in designing the study, collecting and analyzing data, or publishing the results.