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Eating flavonoid-rich berries may delay cognitive decline

Blueberries are native to North America but are now grown
around the world. Specific nutrients of the berries vary
by locale and season. Blueberries have high levels of
anthocyanins and thus high antioxidant levels.
Anthocyanins are the pigments many plants produce in order
to attract the birds and insects necessary for the
dispersion of their seeds and pollination. Blueberries
have been shown to have antioxidant properties, and
preliminary animal and in vitro studies suggest that they
may also provide anti-inflammatory effects, help manage
diabetes, and help maintain the health of the brain,
particularly the hippocampus and memory systems.

Strawberry is predominantly known for its bright red,
edible fruit covered in small seeds. The fruit is fragrant
and high in fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and
antioxidants. Epidemiological studies indicate that
strawberry ingestion may reduce the risk of colorectal
cancer. More research is needed in these areas before
supplemental amounts may be recommended. Preliminary
research also indicates that strawberry may be useful as
an anti-inflammatory and iron absorption enhancement.

In a new study, researchers measured cognitive decline in
16,010 men and women over the age of 70. These individuals
had participated in the Nurses’ Health Study since 1980
and had taken food intake questionnaires every four years.

The data suggested that higher intake of blueberries and
strawberries may be associated with lower rates of
cognitive decline. The researchers found that eating these
flavonoid-rich berries could potentially delay cognitive
decline by up to 2.5 years.

The authors concluded that flavonoid-rich berries may have
a protective effect against cognitive decline in older
adults. However, more studies are needed to confirm and
better understand these findings.

Dementia refers to a loss of cognitive function (an
intellectual process resulting in an understanding,
perception or awareness of one’s thoughts and ideas).
Dementia can be caused by changes in the brain such as
those associated with disease or trauma. The changes may
occur gradually or quickly. Cognition is the act or
process of thinking, perceiving and learning. Cognitive
functions that may be affected by dementia include
decision making, judgment, memory, spatial orientation,
thinking, reasoning and verbal communication. Dementia may
also result in behavioral and personality changes,
depending on the area of the brain affected.

Pardon the play on words but taking berries as often as
possible is a BERRY good idea!