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Sharon Salyer |
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Could berries help protect your brain?

Lucky for us that we live in an area where there's fresh blueberries and strawberries in abundance.

Older women who consume these berries may delay decline in cognitive abilities by as much as 2.5 years, according to a study published today in the Annals of Neurology.

The berries contain flavonoids, compounds found in plants that can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Stress and inflammation are thought to contribute to cognitive impairment or a reduction in ability to communicate and process information.

Between 1995 and 2001, cognitive function was measured in 16,010 women over the age of 70 at two-year intervals.

Increased consumption of blueberries and strawberries appear to slow cognitive decline in older women — the first evidence of this association.

However, part of the trend in maintaining cognitive function may also have been influenced by other lifestyle choices, such as exercising more, according to researchers.
Story tags » Nutrition

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