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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Contributor
May 01, 2012

Eating Berries May Slow Cognitive Decline, Study Shows

Adding blueberries or strawberries to your diet may keep your brain healthy all the way into your 70s and beyond. By Jennifer Chan

That eating blueberries and strawberries is good for the brain is nothing new. In fact, previous studies have already found evidence of its positive effects on cognitive function. To further corroborate these results, a new study published in the Annals of Neurology shows the results of conducting similar research on a wider scale. 

Elizabeth Devore and her colleagues from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied the eating habits of a single group of 16,000 women who were participating in the Nurses' Health Study, which is an ongoing investigation into women's health that started in 1976. During their 50s and 60s, the participants answered questions about what they ate every four years through phone calls. In their 70s, they were asked to come into the lab for six different cognitive function tests. 

Results revealed that women who ate a half cup of blueberries or one whole cup of strawberries at least once a week were able to put off cognitive decline by around 1.5 to 2.5 years. Even after accounting for other factors that may have contributed to better brain health, the researchers found the same results.

While the study can’t confirm that eating berries will slow down dementia associated with aging or Alzheimer’s disease, Devore and her fellow researchers may be on the right track.  After all, past rodent studies have shown that berries contain flavonoid compounds called anthocyanidin, which affect brain tissues responsible for learning and memory.

 

(Photo by Angelo DeSantis via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Jennifer Chan
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Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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