New research from the University of Cincinnati has uncovered that consuming strawberries daily could potentially reduce the risk of dementia in certain middle-aged individuals.
This study builds upon previous research led by Dr. Robert Krikorian, which found that adding blueberries to the daily diets of middle-aged populations might decrease the likelihood of developing late-life dementia.
The Role of Anthocyanins
Both strawberries and blueberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been linked to various health benefits, including metabolic and cognitive improvements.
Epidemiological data has indicated that individuals who regularly consume strawberries or blueberries tend to experience a slower rate of cognitive decline as they age.
In addition to anthocyanins, strawberries contain micronutrients known as ellagitannins and ellagic acid, which have also been associated with health advantages.
Targeting Middle-Aged Individuals at Risk
Around 50% of people in the United States develop insulin resistance (prediabetes) during middle age, increasing their susceptibility to chronic diseases.
While the metabolic and cardiovascular benefits of strawberry consumption have been explored in previous studies, the cognitive effects have received less attention.
This study aimed to investigate whether strawberry consumption could enhance cognitive performance and metabolic health in middle-aged individuals, potentially linking cognitive improvement with reduced metabolic disturbances.
The Study Details
The study involved 30 overweight participants aged 50 to 65, all of whom reported mild cognitive decline.
This group is at a higher risk of developing late-life dementia and other common conditions associated with aging.
Over a 12-week period, participants were asked to refrain from consuming any berry fruits, except for a daily supplement powder. Half of the participants received powders equivalent to one cup of whole strawberries, while the other half received a placebo.
The researchers assessed cognitive abilities, such as long-term memory and memory interference, as well as mood, depressive symptoms, and metabolic data throughout the study.
Findings and Implications
Participants in the strawberry powder group showed reduced memory interference, indicating an improvement in executive ability.
This improvement reflects better executive control and resistance to interference from non-target words during memory testing.
Additionally, those in the strawberry-treated group experienced a significant reduction in depressive symptoms.
This result suggests enhanced executive ability, which can lead to improved emotional control, coping, and problem-solving.
While previous strawberry studies have shown improvements in metabolic measures, this study did not find any effects on metabolic health in the participants.
Dr. Krikorian suggests that the strawberry treatment may have improved cognitive function by reducing brain inflammation.
Executive abilities tend to decline in midlife, and conditions like insulin resistance and obesity can increase inflammation, including in the brain.
Therefore, the observed benefits may be related to the moderation of inflammation in the strawberry group.
Looking ahead, further research trials should involve larger sample sizes and explore different dosages of strawberry supplementation to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the potential cognitive and health benefits of strawberries.
If you care about dementia, please read studies that walking patterns may help identify specific types of dementia, and common high blood pressure drugs may help lower your dementia risk.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about this tooth disease linked to dementia, and results showing this MIND diet may protect your cognitive function, prevent dementia.
The research findings can be found in Nutrients.
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