Consumption of popular fruit may reduce dementia risk: study

For those who enjoy strawberries, this may be berry delicious news.

According to University of Cincinnati researchers, certain middle-aged individuals may be able to lower their chance of developing dementia by consuming strawberries on a daily basis. The journal Nutrients published their findings last month.

30 overweight individuals with moderate cognitive impairment were urged not to eat berries during the 12-week research, with the exception of one daily packet of supplement powder that they would mix with water and take with breakfast.

The fifty to sixty-five-year-old volunteers were divided in half and given a powder that was equal to one cup of whole strawberries, which is the normal serving size. The other half received a placebo.

The individuals' mood, long-term memory, and metabolic health were monitored by the researchers.

They discovered that the strawberry powder group significantly reduced their depression symptoms and outperformed the control group on a word-list learning test.

"Antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been implicated in a variety of berry health benefits such as metabolic and cognitive enhancements, are found in both strawberries and blueberries," stated Robert Krikorian, an emeritus professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the UC College of Medicine, who conducted a study last year on the health effects of blueberry consumption.

He went on, "There is epidemiological evidence suggesting that persons who regularly eat blueberries or strawberries have a slower rate of cognitive decline with aging."

Krikorian pointed out that ellagic acid and ellagitannins, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anticancer qualities, are also present in strawberries.

According to Krikorian, the strawberries in his study may have enhanced cognitive performance by lowering brain inflammation.

"At midlife, executive functioning starts to deteriorate, and excess abdominal fat, along with insulin resistance and obesity, tends to exacerbate inflammation, including in the brain," he said.

It is possible to conclude that the middle-aged, overweight, prediabetic individuals in our sample had elevated inflammatory levels, which may have led to a modest impairment in their executive functioning. As a result, the positive impacts we saw may be connected to the strawberry group's reduced inflammation.

Krikorian suggested that future studies include a larger sample size and a range of strawberry dosages.

The university confirmed that the California Strawberry Commission funded and donated strawberry and placebo powders for his research, but it denied that the organization had any input into the study's design, data gathering and processing, or dissemination of the findings.
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