Scientists from Harvard found that eating berries could help slow down brain aging and delay cognitive decline.
The research is published in the Annals of Neurology and was conducted by Elizabeth E Devore et al.
Berries are high in flavonoids, especially anthocyanidins, and improve cognition in experimental studies.
Anthocyanins are rich in antioxidants and are thought to be anti-inflammatory and help boost the immune system.
Because of this, anthocyanin-rich foods and supplements are often used in herbal medicine to treat a host of unrelated health conditions
In the study, the team examined whether greater long-term intakes of berries and flavonoids are linked to lower rates of cognitive decline in older women.
Beginning in 1980, a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire was administered every 4 years to Nurses’ Health Study participants.
From 1995-to 2001, the researchers began measuring cognitive function in 16,010 participants aged 70 and older. The follow-up assessments were conducted twice, at 2-year intervals.
To ascertain long-term diet, the team averaged dietary variables from 1980 through the initial cognitive interview.
The team found greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries were linked to lower rates of cognitive decline after controlling multiple potential confounders.
These effect estimates were equivalent to those they found for approximately 1.5 to 2.5 years of age in our cohort, indicating that berry intake appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.
Additionally, the team found greater intakes of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids were linked to lower rates of cognitive.
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