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Eat Berries To Stay Smart!

Eat Berries To Stay Smart!

Women who eat plenty of blueberries and strawberries stay sharp as they age, and maybe men can benefit too, according to a major study released last Thursday in the Annals of Neurology.

Lead author and epidemiologist Elizabeth Devore, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, along with her team, analyzed data from The Nurses’ Health Study, which started tracking the health and lifestyle of 121,700 nurses in 1976.

For the berry analysis, 16,000 stroke-free women older than 70 were given six tests for memory and cognitive function. Every two years from 1995 to 2001, researchers measured mental function in these women. Those who ate more blueberries and strawberries had the slowest memory decline.

Exciting news that with such a simple dietary intervention we can stay smarter longer!

From The New York Daily News:

“Not everyone’s memory declines as they age, but on average, when women did decline over time, the group that ate the most berries declined less,” said Devore.

The benefit was seen with just a half cup of blueberries or one cup of strawberries consumed a week. Frozen, regular or organic all work.

And if you ate more? The study didn’t look at that.

“Because cognitive decline develops over many years, long-term dietary habits are likely most relevant to brain health,” Devore said.

“We provide the first epidemiologic evidence that berries may slow progression of cognitive decline in elderly women,” said Devore.

Devore added that the findings are of particular importance to the aging population, which is on the rise: the number of Americans aged 65 and older grew 15 percent from 2000 to 2010 according to the U.S. Census.

Flavonoids are antioxidants that are found in berries, apples, citrus fruits, tea, red wine and onions, and previous research has shown they may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

We know that it’s a great idea if everyone, young and old, increases their daily intake of fruits and vegetables, in order to live a healthy life, and now here’s even more proof that we should all be heading to the produce aisle.

The magic bullet in berries may be a certain kind of flavonoid known as anthocyanidins, which cross the blood-brain barrier.

They have also been found in the regions of the brain involved with learning and memory.

Get the berry habit and stay smart!

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110 comments

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5:37PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Great to know!

5:36PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Great to know!

11:06AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

easy to do!

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Very tasty and delicious article. These are getting more expensive depending on where one lives and people on low income cannot always afford to purchase these vital and vibrant foods.
Try to eat as many as I can and it is delightful if one lives in an area where these grow wild and one can pluck them up in a basket while going for a long rural walk on the farm.
Wish I still lived on a farm where the berries were everywhere growing in the wild.

3:42AM PDT on May 4, 2012

Thanks, great to know.

6:56AM PDT on May 3, 2012

Yumm and I especially like blackberries which I have read are the most potent of the bunch. And, they are delicious and a great summer treat!

5:24PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Yes, regularly....had some organic blueberries tonight. They cost a small fortune but it will be a while before our own bushes produce. Don't trust "organic" on strawberries after reading about the loophole in the CA law here on Care2, so only eat own own strawberries. We also have lots of wild raspberries, and cultivated blackberries and raspberries.

5:13PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Berries .. wonder drugs!

8:52AM PDT on May 2, 2012

I've also read that rasberry and strawberry leaves are good for the reproductive system in women. I like the tea.

7:37AM PDT on May 2, 2012

Great to know, but it´s too bad berries aren't cheaper most of the year

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