As we age, our brain can experience changes that result in impairments in remembering, learning new things, and concentrating. Even making decisions that affect our daily lives can become a challenge. These impairments are due to diminished hormones and proteins that protect and repair brain cells daily.  We can also lose agility and balance which can lead to falls. Sometimes these changes in our brain can lead to early cognitive decline and disability.

In a recent study at Tufts University by Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale and her team at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging showed that strawberries are beneficial in keeping our brains active and healthy as we age.

37 Healthy older adults participated in a two-arm trial over a period of 90 days. In this trail some of the participants consumed 24g freeze-dried strawberry powder beverages daily.  This is the equivalent to two cups of fresh strawberries. Other participants drank a calorie-matched control powder. Participants took part in a series of balance, gait, and cognitive tests at commencement of the trial, midway through, and at the end of the trial.

Participants in the strawberry group performed better on spatial memory tasks and word recognition tests compared to those in the control group. These findings show that the addition of strawberry to the diets of healthy, older adults can improve some aspects of cognition, and further studies on this is continuing.

This research comes shortly after a recent publication that indicate diets high in long-term flavonoid intake, from foods such as strawberries, could contribute to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.

Making strawberries a daily part of your diet goes a long way in ensuring not only your mental health, but your physical health too.  And the fact that they are scurrilously delicious is indeed a bonus.