Brain benefits from berries

Berry fruits contain phytochemicals that have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on brain cells.

Strong scientific evidence exists that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes, scientists report. Their new article on the value of eating berry fruits appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

In the article, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D., and Marshall G. Miller point out that longer lifespans are raising concerns about the human toll and health care costs of treating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of mental decline. They explain that recent research increasingly shows that eating berry fruits can benefit the aging brain. To analyze the strength of the evidence about berry fruits, they extensively reviewed cellular, animal and human studies on the topic.

Their review concluded that berry fruits help the brain stay healthy in several ways. Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. Plants, including vegetables, fruits, and their juices are the primary source of our consumed antioxidant compounds.

The two also report that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage and improve both motor control and cognition. They suggest that further research will show whether these benefits are a result of individual compounds shared between berry fruits or whether the unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit simply have similar effects.

Berries have also been shown to up-regulate the development of new brain cells (neurogenesis) in aged rats, resulting in increased working memory performance.

Adapted from the ACS press release for the article.

  1. Lucia Catone

    What is your age group statistics…over 60? How much or how long does one need to eat
    berries b/4 noticing the difference? Why doesn’t the media inform the public?

    Awaiting your reply…thank you.

  2. Bryan Rood

    If antioxidants are one of the biggest reasons for eating exorbitant amount of berries, why not just take a combination of antioxidants in a supplement?

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