Study Hall: Your brain on berries
For Study Hall each week, we sort through the deluge of new medical studies and wordy white papers to bring you one that deserves your attention—in plain, healthy English.
Throw another handful of blueberries into that morning smoothie.
According to a recent study published online on April 25 in Annals of Neurology, women who regularly eat blueberries and strawberries may stay smart—and sharp—longer than those who don’t.
The study: More than 19,000 female nurses (part of the long-term Nurses’ Health Study) since 1980 have filled out questionnaires about their diets. When participants reached age 70, researchers invited them to take three cognitive tests over the course of four years (about 16,000 of the women did). The researchers then looked at whether long-term consumption of any particular food slowed the natural cognitive decline that occurs as people age.
The results: Women who ate blueberries and strawberries every week delayed cognitive decline by about 2.5 years. Other foods rich in flavonoids (a type of antioxidant found in plants) also boosted brain health, including tea, oranges, apples, and onions.
What it means: Brain foods are important, and thankfully they’re tasty. Adding berries into your diet now can give you boost that lasts a lifetime. —Allison Becker