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Berries Help Keep Brain Sharp

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Blueberries and strawberries may slow cognitive decline as we age. That's the conclusion from a study that has been following more than 120,000 women since 1976. The Nurses Health Study tracks diet and fitness every four years through a mailed questionnaire. Starting in 1995 a cohort of 16,000 women at least 70 years old had their cognitive function measured every other year. Women who ate more flavonoid-rich berries had slower rates of cognitive decline. The researchers attribute this benefit to anthocyanidins, purple or red pigments that have strong anti-oxidant activity. The women with the highest berry intake lopped nearly two years off their cognitive age.

[Annals of Neurology, April 26, 2012]

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The problem with a lot of this research is that it is not controlled for SES. The difference in income among the research subjects is so often the truly important variant. If I eat more berries, I probably am in an upper income bracket because they are expensive, out of season particularly. I also watch my diet more closely, exercise more and do a lot of other things that are much more important than a few berries.

Since this study was with women only, are these berries also helpful to men?

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