Eating Berries Might Reduce Cognitive Decline
Last updated:April 30, 2012
Here's a new argument for grabbing a pint or two of those brightly colored berries at the market: According to new research, eating strawberries and blueberries is linked to better cognitive function in older women.
According to PsychCentral, the research is based on data from the Nurses' Health Study, in which 121,700 female R.N.s answered nutrition and other surveys every four years. The study started in 1976, so lead author Elizabeth Devore, with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and team had plenty of data.
The results showed that women who ate more berries delayed cognitive decline for up to 2.5 years. Researchers think the flavonoids in the berries might protect cognitive function by acting as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.
"We provide the first epidemiologic evidence that berries may slow progression of cognitive decline in elderly women," Devore said. "Our findings have significant public health implications as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to test cognition protection in older adults."
Of course, this research doesn't prove that eating berries directly strengthens cognitive function. The women who ate more berries might have also exercised more, or avoided smoking, or completed more crossword puzzles. Still, it's probably not a terrible idea to eat more antioxidant-rich berries -- especially since they're pretty tasty.