Skip to content

    50+: Live Better, Longer

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Berries Boost Brain Function

    Eating Berries May Help Prevent Age-Related Memory Loss
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    March 9, 2012 -- Making berries a part of your daily diet may help keep your memory sharp, a new review shows.

    The review shows there’s strong evidence that eating berries boosts brain function and may prevent age-related memory loss.

    “In addition to their now well-known antioxidant effects, dietary supplementation with berry fruits has direct effects on the brain,” writes researcher Marshall Miller, of the USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and colleagues in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    Researchers say laboratory and animal studies suggest that eating berries has beneficial effects on brain signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell death. The net effect of these improvements in brain function may stall age-related brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

    Berries Benefit the Brain

    Researchers reviewed recent studies on the effects of berries on brain signaling or internal communication and behavior.

    The review shows cellular, animal, and human studies confirm that berries like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries benefit the aging brain in several ways.

    First, the high antioxidant content of berries helps protect brain cells from damage by harmful free radicals, which are set loose within the body by the process of “oxidation.”

    Second, berries change the way the neurons in the brain communicate with each other. These changes can prevent inflammation that can lead to brain cell damage and thereby improve movement control and function.

    For example, researchers say studies have shown that berries are capable of enhancing brain function and movement control in animals.

    In addition, some studies in humans have shown that dietary supplementation with berries reduces inflammation in humans. Grapes and blueberries have also been shown to improve brain function in older adults with mild mental impairment.

    Researchers say further study is needed to determine if these beneficial effects on brain function are the result of individual compounds shared by berries or unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit.

    Today on WebMD

    blueberries
    Eating for a longer, healthier life.
    woman biking
    How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
     
    womans finger tied with string
    Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
    man reviewing building plans
    Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
     
    fast healthy snack ideas
    Article
    how healthy is your mouth
    Tool
     
    dog on couch
    Tool
    doctor holding syringe
    Slideshow
     
    champagne toast
    Slideshow
    Two women wearing white leotards back to back
    Quiz
     
    Man feeding woman
    Slideshow
    two senior women laughing
    Article