Those Brainy Berries

Keep your memory sharp and boost your brain-power by making berries a part of your daily diet!   Most research on brain health has focused on the blueberry, but red, blue and purple berries are all rich in the powerful antioxidants called flavanols that are found only in berries, grapes, cocoa, and some other colorful plant foods.

Cellular, animal, and human studies confirm that berries like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries benefit the brain.

  • Berries are rich in antioxidants which protect brain cells from damage by the harmful free radicals that are created by the process of oxidation or aging.
  • Berries enhance neuron communication, and reduce the inflammation that can lead to brain cell damage. This results in improvement of motor control, cognition, memory and thought.
  • Research has shown that diets rich in blueberries improve the learning ability and motor skills of aging rats, and may slow the onset of age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Research conducted at Reading University in 2009 brings the everyday benefits of adding berries to your diet into focus. Eighty volunteers were included in the study, half were aged 18 to 30, while the other half were 65 years of age or older. Each age set was divided into two groups. The test group drank a blueberry smoothie made with seven ounces of blueberries. The control group had a smoothie containing the same ingredients and caloric content, but without blueberries.

An hour after consuming the smoothie both groups in each age set took 45 minutes of computer-based tests focused on concentration skills and short term working memory, four hours later the tests were repeated. No differences were seen in the test results taken an hour after drinking the smoothie between the test and control groups, but those in both age groups who drank a blueberry smoothie in the morning were better at concentrating during the later test than the groups that drank the berry-free smoothies.

So do the smart thing and eat your berries everyday!

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