Regular consumption of strawberries appears to have positive effects on cognitive abilities and could contribute to a significant reduction in the risk of dementia in people at risk. The focus here is particularly on the anti-inflammatory effect of the anthocyanins it contains.
A recent study by researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center made it clear what positive effects strawberries can have on cognitive abilities. The study results are published in the specialist magazine “Nutrients”.
Tasty and healthy
Strawberries are valued by most people primarily for their taste, but they also provide some health benefits. Previous studies have already shown how strawberries can protect against dangerous diseases.
The new research was now dedicated to the possible effects on the risk of dementia in people who are particularly at risk.
Strawberries and cognitive abilities
For this purpose, five overweight men and 25 overweight middle-aged women with insulin resistance and self-reported cognitive decline were randomly assigned to an experimental or a control group.
We wanted to work with an overweight middle-aged population because dementia is a disease that develops over a period of decades and inflammation is a dementia risk factor that is associated with metabolic disorders such as overweight/obesity, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes , explains Dr. Robert Krikorian.
In the experimental group, the participants received a strawberry powder every day for twelve weeks, which was made from dried, freeze-dried and ground whole fruits, while the control group took a powder with the same appearance and taste as well as the same proportion of carbohydrates and fiber, but which did not contain any polyphenols. reports the team.
According to the researchers, the daily dose of strawberry powder was 13 grams, which provided around 36.8 milligrams of anthocyanins from 130 grams of whole fruit, which roughly corresponds to a portion of fresh strawberries.
For the duration of the study, participants were also asked to stop consuming all soft fruits, juices and extracts to minimize potential bias, with dietary records showing that overall participants adhered well to this prescribed abstinence.
What effects did strawberries have?
“We observed reduced memory impairment and a reduction in depressive symptoms in strawberry-treated participants, as well as benefits associated with improved executive functioning,” the research team reports.
The reduction in depressive symptoms suggests improved emotional coping skills and, overall, the effects are likely due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the anthocyanins contained in strawberries.
However, according to the researchers, no effects on metabolism were detectable, which may have been due to the size of the sample, the duration of the intervention or the comparatively low anthocyanin dose.
Strawberries to prevent dementia?
The experts conclude that strawberry supplementation can help reduce the risk of dementia when taken in midlife. However, further studies with longer intervention periods, larger samples and different dosing regimens are needed to more accurately assess the benefits of strawberry consumption. (fp)