Strawberries and blueberries may
delay memory decline in older
women; © panthermedia.net/
Berries are good for you, that is no secret. But can strawberries and blueberries actually keep your brain sharp in old age? A new study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) finds that a high intake of flavonoid rich berries can delay memory decline in older women by 2.5 years.
"What makes our study unique is the amount of data we analysed over such a long period of time. No other berry study has been conducted on such a large scale," explained Elisabeth Devore of BWH. "Among women who consumed 2 or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week we saw a modest reduction in memory decline. This effect appears to be attainable with relatively simple dietary modifications."
The research team used data from the Nurses' Health Study — a cohort of 121,700 female, registered nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 — who completed health and lifestyle questionnaires beginning in 1976. Since 1980, participants were surveyed every four years regarding their frequency of food consumption. Between 1995 and 2001, memory was measured in 16,010 subjects over the age of 70 years, at 2-year intervals. Women included in the present study had a mean age of 74 and mean body mass index of 26.
Findings show that increased consumption of blueberries and strawberries was associated with a slower rate of memory decline in older women. A greater intake of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids was also associated with reduced memory decline. Researchers observed that women who had higher berry intake had delayed memory decline by up to 2.5 years.
"We provide the first epidemiologic evidence that berries appear to slow progression of memory decline in elderly women," notes Devore. "Our findings have significant public health implications as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to reduce memory decline in older adults."
REHACARE.de; Source: Brigham and Women's Hospital
- More about the Brigham and Women's Hospital at: www.brighamandwomens.org