Eating a popular fruit may reduce your risk of dementia
- A study found that adults who consumed strawberries reported better cognition
- Strawberries have antioxidants that reduce inflammation and chronic diseases
- READ MORE: Revealed: The science-backed diet said to slash your dementia risk
Eating strawberries could slash your risk of dementia, a study suggests.
Researchers looked at overweight participants who had complained of mild cognitive impairment and asked half to abstain from eating any type of berry, while a second group ate the equivalent of a cup of strawberries each day.
Results showed those who consumed the strawberry powder performed better on tests that measured how well they could remember a list of words after 12 weeks.
The study builds upon the team’s previous research on blueberries, black berries and other berries which have been shown to reduce dementia risk.
This is because blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which fight unstable molecules known as free radicals that cause chronic inflammation, a risk factor for dementia.
Strawberries are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which fight unstable molecules known as free radicals that contribute to diseases like inflammation, diabetes , and dementia
Participants who consumed the strawberry powder reported fewer depressive symptoms
Dr Robert Krikorian, lead study author and professor emeritus in the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, said: ‘There is epidemiological data suggesting that people who consume strawberries or blueberries regularly have a slower rate of cognitive decline with aging.’
The researchers evaluated 30 overweight patients – five men and 25 women – between 50 and 65 years old who complained of mild cognitive impairment. Dr Krikorian said they chose this group because they have an increased risk of dementia.
For 12 weeks, participants were asked not to consume any berries except for a daily packet of supplement powder that was mixed with water during breakfast. This was equal to one cup of whole strawberries.
READ MORE: Revealed: The science-backed diet said to slash your risk of dementia
Tracy Parker, Heart Health dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, has devised a meal plan that follows the MIND diet. She recommends a breakfast of porridge, lentil salad for lunch, and a fish pie for dinner
Half of the participants received the powder, while the other half got a placebo.
They were then given memory tests, and researchers tracked their mood, amount of depressive symptoms, and metabolism.
Those who consumed the strawberry powder performed better on memory tests and reported having fewer depressive symptoms.
The study builds upon the team’s previous research, which was published in the journal Nutrients and found that blueberries also reduced symptoms of cognitive decline.
Berries are a staple of the MIND diet, which is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. This diet prioritizes anti-inflammatory foods like salmon, lentils, avocados, carrots, and cauliflower.
More than 6 million Americans are thought to have dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association reports.
By 2050 this is projected to rise to nearly 13million as the older population grows — or one in 25 people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says early symptoms of the condition include memory loss, difficulty maintaining attention and communicating with others.
This may include getting lost in a familiar neighborhood, using unusual words to refer to familiar objects and forgetting the names of family members.
Being older is the strongest risk factor for developing the condition — alongside a family history of it and being at higher risk of heart disease.
There is currently no cure for dementia, with treatments instead focusing on slowing the condition and limiting its symptoms.
The authors said that limitations included the small sample size and the length of the study.
The study was published last month in the journal Nutrients.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, in which build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die.
This disrupts the transmitters that carry messages, and causes the brain to shrink.
More than 5 million people suffer from the disease in the US, where it is the 6th leading cause of death, and more than 1 million Britons have it.
As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost.
That includes memory, orientation and the ability to think and reason.
The progress of the disease is slow and gradual.
On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some may live for ten to 15 years.
- Loss of short-term memory
- Behavioral changes
- Mood swings
- Difficulties dealing with money or making a phone call
- Severe memory loss, forgetting close family members, familiar objects or places
- Becoming anxious and frustrated over inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behavior
- Eventually lose ability to walk
- May have problems eating
- The majority will eventually need 24-hour care
Source: Alzheimer’s Association
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