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Published on: March 9, 2012
by Deborah Mitchell for Exam Health
An apple a day is good for your health, but berries have some convincing scientific evidence to support their role in promoting brain health. Whether your favorites are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or other berries, these little fruits can help prevent memory loss and support brain health, according to a new study.
Berries are a delicious approach to brain health
People are living longer, and with a longer lifespan comes a myriad of potential and actual health problems. While it’s well established that eating a nutritious diet has a positive impact on health as people age, some foods stand out when it comes to supporting the aging process, including brain health.
Berries are on the stand-out list, according to a new review appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. According to the authors, berries are rich in “phytochemicals that offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and direct effects on the brain.”
In addition, each type of berry possesses different types of phytochemicals, which means their benefits can cover a wide spectrum. The authors, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PhD, and Marshall G. Miller, with the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, noted the following points in their review.
Other health benefits from berries
Beyond supporting brain health, berries have been associated with a number of other health benefits. Blueberries, for example, have been shown to slow breast cancer growth in mice, help with weight loss efforts, and protect against colitis.
Strawberries have been named as possibly helping in the prevention of esophageal cancer and reducing chronic inflammation, while raspberries have been associated with the prevention of a number of different types of cancer.
For now, researchers have only a partial picture of the possible and potential benefits associated with the phytochemicals in berries. The authors noted that more research is needed to identify the availability of the compounds in berries and their actions in the brain.
They also noted “it is not yet clear whether the consumption of a variety of high-polyphenol foods, such as mixed berries, would provide additive benefits that exceed those of supplementation with a single berry fruit.” Given the potential for berries to promote brain health and prevent memory loss, and the fact they taste so good, why would you want to eat just one?
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