A recent study from the University of Cincinnati, led by Robert Krikorian, PhD, suggests that daily consumption of strawberries could lower the risk of dementia in middle-aged populations.
This research, published in the journal Nutrients, extends previous findings on the cognitive benefits of blueberries.
Previous research by UC’s team showed that adding blueberries to the diet may decrease the likelihood of late-life dementia in middle-aged individuals.
This new study on strawberries builds on that, focusing on the antioxidants anthocyanins, which are prevalent in both berries. These antioxidants are linked to various health benefits, including cognitive enhancements.
The study involved 30 overweight individuals aged 50-65, who had mild cognitive decline and were at increased risk for late-life dementia.
Over 12 weeks, participants abstained from all berry fruit except for a daily supplement powder mixed with water. Half received powders equivalent to one cup of strawberries, and the other half received a placebo.
Key Findings: Cognitive and Mood Improvements
Participants in the strawberry powder group showed diminished memory interference, indicating enhanced executive abilities.
They also experienced a significant reduction in depressive symptoms, which may be attributed to improved emotional control and problem-solving abilities. However, no significant impact was observed on metabolic health in this study.
Broader Context: Strawberries and Health
Strawberries contain ellagitannins and ellagic acid, micronutrients associated with health benefits.
The study also addresses the issue of insulin resistance, common in about 50% of middle-aged Americans, and its role in chronic diseases.
Future Research Directions
Krikorian suggests that the cognitive benefits observed may be linked to reduced brain inflammation.
Future studies should involve larger participant samples and varying dosages of strawberry supplementation to explore this relationship further.
Conclusion: Potential Role of Strawberries in Dementia Prevention
This study indicates that strawberries could potentially improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia among middle-aged adults, especially those with prediabetes and overweight.
While more research is needed, these findings open exciting avenues for using dietary interventions in the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline, and results showing higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.
The research findings can be found in Nutrients.
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