A daily helping of strawberries could help prevent dementia and depression in middle-aged, overweight adults.
An American study found that daily consumption of the popular fruit for 12 weeks improved mood, reduced issues relating to memory and decreased depressive symptoms.
Researchers hope their findings could assist in the prevention of dementia, which currently has no known cure and impacts 1 in 11 people over the age of 65 in the UK.
Professor Robert Krikorian, of the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, Ohio, said: “Dementia is a general term that includes many different diseases, all without remedies.
“It is not clear when or if effective therapy will be available; prevention and mitigation through dietary and lifestyle choices is currently the best approach we have.”
The study, published in the journal Nutrients, was a double-blind, randomized controlled trial including five men and 25 women.
One group received a strawberry powder prepared from whole fruit that had been desiccated, freeze-dried and milled.
The second group received the control powder which was designed to have the same appearance, taste and carbohydrate load as the strawberry powder.
The daily servings were sealed in packets, each containing 13 grams of strawberry berry powder, equivalent to about one cup of whole fresh strawberries.
After 12 weeks of following the diet, participants who were given the whole fruit strawberry powder made fewer ‘intrusion errors’ during a word list learning task sometimes used in identifying cognitive decline.
Additionally, participants who were given the whole fruit strawberry powder reported lower levels of depressive symptoms.
Krikorian added: “Our findings can likely be attributed to the anti-inflammatory actions of the anthocyanins found in strawberries.
“We wanted to work with a middle-aged, overweight population as dementia is a condition that is believed to develop over a period of decades.
“Furthermore, inflammation is likely a contributing factor related to metabolic disorders such as obesity, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.”
Strawberries are important for maintaining a healthy diet, as they provide 100 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C amount in a single, one-cup serving.
They also contain heart-healthy nutrients like folate, potassium, fiber, phytosterols and polyphenols.
Chris Christian, senior vice president at the California Strawberry Commission, said:
“We are excited with these findings and the future of polyphenol research.
“The link between strawberry consumption and brain health has been well explored in both clinical and population-based studies.
“For example, strawberries and pelargonidin, a biochemical primarily found in strawberries, were associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s dementia in studies conducted at Rush University.
“And, long-term observational studies, including the Health Professionals Study and the Nurses’ Health Study, found that strawberry consumers had lower rates of cognitive decline.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”
Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.