Strawberries: Popular fruit could help prevent dementia and depression - especially if you're middle-aged
Scientists have found strawberries could help prevent dementia and depression - especially if you're middle-aged
A daily helping of strawberries could help prevent dementia and depression, scientists have found, especially for middle-aged or out-of-shape adults. A new American study - published in food science journal Nutrients - found that eating the popular fruit each day for at least 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. Scientists tested five men and 25 women split into two randomised groups, without knowing which they were in. One group received a strawberry powder prepared from whole fruit, while the second group received a control powder designed to have the same appearance, taste and carbohydrate load as the strawberries.
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.
Professor Robert Krikorian, of the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Centre, told SWNS that 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,” he said.
Professor Krikorian believed their findings could 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," he added. “Furthermore, inflammation is likely a contributing factor related to metabolic disorders such as obesity, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.”
Strawberries have long been touted for their health benefits, as they provide 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C in a single, one cup serving. They also contain heart-healthy nutrients like folate, potassium, fibre, phytosterols and polyphenols.