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Berries Shown to Delay Cognitive Decline
Posted By Lynn On May 15, 2012 @ 6:17 pm In Aging-Mental Decline,Director's Choice,Newest Postings,Whole Foods-Fruits & Vegetables,Women's Health-General & Misc. | Comments Disabled
Abstracted by Jessica Patella, ND from “Dietary Intakes of Berries and Flavonoids in Relation to Cognitive Decline.” fromAnnuals of Neurology . Posted May 15, 2012.
Americans aged 65 years and older make up the largest portion of the population (3). It is important for public health reasons to recognize health problems that occur more often in this age group. Recent research found that high intakes of berries, specifically strawberries and blueberries, might delay cognitive  decline that affects the aging American population.
The research began in 1980 with 121,700 female registered nurses, aged 30-55 years. Questionnaires were sent out every other year on their health, lifestyle and food intakes. From 1995-2001 the women who had reached 70 years old or older also were given a cognitive function test (n=19,415). A second cognitive test was given about two years later and a third cognitive test was given after another two years (1).
According to the questionnaire responses, blueberries and strawberries were the main foods that contributed to the most antioxidant intake. Of all the foods, tea, apples, oranges, berries and onions accounted for over 80% of the total antioxidant intake (1).
Results showed that women with higher berry intake (greater than two servings of strawberries and greater than one serving of blueberries per week) had delayed cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years (1). This was the first epidemiologic  study to show that long-term consumption of berries was related to the slower rate of cognitive decline (1).
The delayed cognitive decline could be due to anthocyanidins  in the berries (1). Anthocyanidins are what give berries their color and are a type of antioxidant. Anthocyanidins are unique in the fact they can cross the blood-brain barrier and localize in areas of the brain involved in learning and memory, therefore delaying cognitive decline (1,2).
In conclusion, higher consumption of berries is associated with a delay in cognitive decline in women (1). Further research including men should be considered. Also, it is important to note that self-reported dietary questionnaires can be unreliable (1). A more controlled study with specific levels of berry and/or antioxidant intake should also be considered.
Jessica Patella, ND, is a naturopathic physician specializing in nutrition and homeopathic medicine and offers a holistic approach to health.
Article printed from Natural Health Research Institute: http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri
URL to article: http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=16509
URLs in this post:
 cognitive: http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=14764#AlphaC
 epidemiologic: http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=14764#AlphaE
 anthocyanidins: http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=14764#AlphaA
 http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/age/general-age.html#bb: http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/age/general-age.html#bb
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