Superfoods afford us many health benefits, including healthy hair, glowing skin and potentially even weight loss. But scientists now believe that they may also help fight memory decline – namely berries.
A study that was published in the Annals of Neurology, looked at more than 160,000 women over the age of 70. The women who consumed the most berries per week were found to have up to a 2.5-year advantage in showing signs of memory loss.
Beginning in 1980, the participants were surveyed about their diet every four years, also having their memory tested every two years between 1995 and 2001. Researchers found that the women who ate at least one half cup of blueberries per week, or one cup of strawberries, showed the greatest benefits.
Berries are thought to have such restorative powers as fighting free radicals throughout the body, including ones found in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease. It’s namely the flavanoids found in berries that act as antioxidants and combat the damage fee radicals do to our body.
The study’s lead author, Elizabeth Devore – a researcher at the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston – also pointed out that these results apply to men as well, since there’s no reason to think berries affect males any differently than females.
Although the study didn’t determine berries as the definite cause for slowing memory loss, it never hurts to get more berries in our diets.
DietsInReview.com’s Registered Dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, likes to add berries – and all fruits and vegetables – as an ingredient to her recipes rather than eating them plain.
She also suggests that growing berries yourself in your yard, encourages you to eat a lot more berries. Her favorites are raspberries – red, purple, golden, and white – since they’re are easy to grow. Once the canes are established, they provide the grower with many years of berries. And since the crop is so prolific, you have to pick almost daily to keep up.
If you can’t keep up with your harvest, though, simply freeze the berries to eat all year long. Mary recommends laying the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet, freezing, and then placing them in a freezer-proof, zip-lock plastic bag for later use.
My personal favorite way to enjoy berries, besides in cobblers and pies, is in smoothies. My two most frequently used recipes are my Ultimate Green Smoothie, which features strawberries, peanut butter and spinach; and my Purple Smoothie, whose star ingredient is mixed berries.
April 27th, 2012