By Joanna Evans
Berries have been a major part of our diet for centuries, but only recently have scientists taken an interest in their constituents and potential health benefits. Now, they’re finding that berries of all varieties–from strawberries and raspberries to goji and açaí berries–may hold the key to combating cancer, dementia and other diseases.
Scientists recently reported the first human evidence that blueberries can boost memory and may even help ward off dementia. Nine older adults with early memory decline drank two cups of a commercial blueberry juice every day for two months, while a control group drank a beverage without blueberry juice. Tests taken before and after revealed that those who drank the blueberry juice showed improvement in learning and memory, leading researchers to conclude that blueberries may offer neurocognitive benefits.
These results confirm the findings of previous animal studies, which showed that blueberries can reverse age-related deficits of both brain and behavioral function. Rats fed a blueberry-supplemented diet performed better in maze and object-recognition tests, as well as in tests of balance and coordination. Similar benefits have been seen with cranberries and strawberries.