Eating This Fruit Daily Could Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, New Evidence Shows
University of Cincinnati researchers found people who regularly consumed this bright berry experienced better memory...and less depression.
Blueberries have often been considered the superstar berry for promoting longevity and fighting disease. But, on the heels of a San Diego State University study which found that strawberries were good for brain and heart health, an even newer study has investigated whether supplementing the diet with strawberries would help adults over age 50 who were experiencing mild cognitive decline.
This study, published October 2023 in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, was conducted by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center and the Bionutrition Core, Schubert Research Clinic in Cincinnati, OH. Their aim was to determine whether the health benefits of strawberries could also translate into improved cognitive abilities for those already grappling with memory issues, but without a formal diagnosis of dementia.
The study involved 34 men and women between the ages of 50 and 65 years, all of whom were overweight and had reported mild cognitive decline without any neurological diagnosis. The participants were divided into two groups. One group received a daily dose of strawberry powder, equivalent to one cup of fresh berries (a standard serving), while the other group received a placebo that tasted like strawberries. They each consumed their assigned packets once a day for 12 weeks.
After this period, the researchers assessed the participants’ cognitive performance and examined their blood markers.
Strawberries boosted mood and improved performance on some tasks
The results showed that the group that consumed strawberries demonstrated improvements in word memory tasks and experienced fewer symptoms of depression—while also exhibiting better mood control—compared to the group that didn’t receive strawberries.
The researchers noted that the enhancement in word memory is crucial because such tests are often used in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. They also highlighted that better mood control suggests improved coping and self-management skills in daily life. These qualities are important indicators of an aging individual’s ability to manage their life and decision-making. This aspect, often referred to as “executive capability,” can start to decline in middle-aged individuals.
However, the researchers noted that the strawberry supplement did not help participants improve in all cognitive tasks and it didn’t have a significant effect on insulin and blood sugar levels, likely due to the relatively low dose used in this study. A study using double the amount of strawberry powder showed improvement in blood pressure and cognitive processing, plus a slight reduction in weight.
Still, this study suggests that adding just a cup of strawberries to your daily diet can be a manageable way to address age-related memory decline and potentially boost mood. Plus, the sweet fruit is a delicious addition to your daily menu—and at less than 50 calories per cup, it can easily fit into many diets.
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