Eat your strawberries: New study shows they’re powerful brain and heart boosters!

SAN DIEGO — The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” might need a bit of an update. According to a recent study, a daily helping of strawberries might also keep cognitive decline and heart disease at bay for aging adults.

Strawberries, packed with polyphenolic compounds, are powerful antioxidants. This makes them potential game-changers for cognitive functions and heart health. Previous research shows that eating just a few of them each day may also improve gut health and relieve inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

In this latest study, which was funded by California Strawberry Commission, researchers rounded up 35 healthy older adults. They gave them either 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder or a placebo for eight weeks. After a four-week break, the two groups switched. The researchers were mainly interested in the impact on the participants’ cognitive abilities. They also kept an eye on blood pressure, waist size, and other heart health indicators.

UC Eclipse strawberry
UC Eclipse strawberry is one of the new varieties resistant to Fusarium Wilt. (Credit: Jael Mackendorf / UC Davis)

The results were promising. The strawberry-consuming group showed improved mental processing speed. The control group, on the other hand, displayed improved episodic memory. However, the control group also saw a rise in systolic blood pressure and an increase in triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. Meanwhile, the strawberry group experienced a drop in blood pressure and an improvement in the body’s ability to fend off harmful oxidants.

“This study demonstrates that consuming strawberries may promote cognitive function and improve cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension,” says Shirin Hooshmand, professor in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at San Diego State and principal investigator on the study, in a media release. “We’re encouraged that a simple dietary change, like adding strawberries to the daily diet, may improve these outcomes in older adults.”

So, keep those strawberries in your daily meal plan. Not only do they taste great, but they may also give your brain and heart health a boost.

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