Cognitive decline is a problem that affects millions of people across the country each year. The financial and emotional toll that it takes on families and individuals is difficult to measure.
However, a new study from researchers at the Agricultural Research Service division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently found that the antioxidants in berries may be an effective way to support brain health as individuals age.
Berries — in particular strawberries, blueberries and raspberries — have long been known to be a rich source of antioxidants. Scientists believed that these nutrients could play an important role in brain health. However, specific, conclusive evidence had eluded researchers; until now.
The findings of the study show that antioxidants boost a process that sweeps the brain of proteins that are left over following normal brain activity. These proteins are thought to contribute to cognitive decline when they build up, becoming toxic.
"The good news is that natural compounds called polyphenolics found in fruits, vegetables and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may [support brain health]," said Shibu Poulose, who led the study.