Summary: Seniors who frequently consumed cranberries as part of their diet saw improvements in episodic memory, neural function, and brain perfusion. Cranberry consumption was also linked to a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol. The results reveal that adding cranberries to the diet helps improve memory and may protect against dementia.
Source: University of East Anglia
Adding cranberries to your diet may help improve memory and brain function, and lower “bad” cholesterol, according to a new study from the University of East Anglia (UK).
A new study published today highlights the neuroprotective potential of cranberries.
The research team studied the benefits of consuming the equivalent of one cup of cranberries per day in people aged 50 to 80.
They hope their findings could have implications for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
Lead researcher Dr David Vauzour, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Dementia is expected to affect around 152 million people by 2050. There is no known cure, so it is crucial that we look for modifiable lifestyle interventions, such as diet, that could help reduce the risk and burden of disease.
“Previous studies have shown that a higher dietary intake of flavonoids is associated with slower rates of cognitive decline and dementia. And foods high in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which give berries their red, blue or purple color, improve cognition.
“Cranberries are rich in these micronutrients and have been recognized for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
“We wanted to learn more about how cranberries might help reduce age-related neurodegeneration.”
The research team studied the impact of consuming cranberries for 12 weeks on brain function and cholesterol in 60 cognitively healthy participants.
Half of the participants consumed freeze-dried cranberry powder daily, the equivalent of one cup or 100 g of fresh cranberries. The other half consumed a placebo.
The study is one of the first to examine cranberries and their long-term impact on cognition and brain health in humans.
Results showed that cranberry consumption significantly improved participants’ memory of daily events (visual episodic memory), neural functioning, and blood supply to the brain (cerebral perfusion).
Dr Vauzour said: “We found that participants who consumed cranberry powder showed significantly improved episodic memory performance in combination with better movement of essential nutrients such as oxygen and glucose to parts important brain functions that support cognition – especially memory consolidation and retrieval.
“The cranberry group also showed a significant decrease in LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, known to contribute to atherosclerosis – the thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of the arteries. an artery. This supports the idea that cranberries may improve vascular health and may in part contribute to improved brain perfusion and cognition.
“Demonstrating in humans that cranberry supplementation can improve cognitive performance and identifying some of the mechanisms responsible is an important step for this area of research.
“The results of this study are very encouraging, especially since a relatively short 12-week cranberry intervention was able to produce significant improvements in memory and neural function,” he added.
“This sets an important foundation for future research in the area of cranberries and neurological health.”
The study was funded by a grant from the Cranberry Institute. It was conducted by the University of East Anglia in collaboration with researchers from Leiden University Medical Center (the Netherlands), the University of Parma (Italy) and the Quadram Institute (UK).
About this diet and dementia research news
Author: Craig Jones
Source: University of East Anglia
Contact: Craig Jones – University of East Anglia
Image: Image is in public domain
Original research: Free access.
“Chronic consumption of cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) for 12 weeks improves episodic memory and regional cerebral perfusion in healthy older adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study” by David Vauzour et al. Nutrition Frontiers
Chronic consumption of cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) for 12 weeks improves episodic memory and regional cerebral perfusion in healthy older adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study
Background: Aging is strongly associated with cognitive decline and modifiable risk factors such as diet are believed to protect against this process. Specific food components and in particular fruits rich in (poly)phenols such as berries are increasingly recognized for their protection against age-related neurodegeneration. However, the impact of cranberries on cognitive function and neural functioning in older adults remains unclear.
Design: A 12-week, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of freeze-dried cranberry powder was conducted in 60 adults between the ages of 50 and 80. Cognitive assessment including memory and executive functions, neuroimaging and blood sample collection were conducted before and after the intervention to assess the impact of daily cranberry consumption on cognition, brain function and neuronal signaling biomarkers.
Results: Cranberry supplementation for 12 weeks was associated with improvements in visual episodic memory in elderly participants compared to placebo. Mechanisms of action may include increased regional perfusion in the right entorhinal cortex, area accumbens, and caudate in the cranberry group. A significant decrease in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol during the procedure was also observed. However, no significant difference was detected for BDNF levels between the groups.
Conclusion : The results of this study indicate that daily cranberry supplementation (equivalent to 1 small cup of cranberries) over a 12-week period improves episodic memory performance and neural functioning, providing a basis for future investigations to determine effectiveness in the context of neurological diseases.
This trial has been registered with clinicaltrials.gov under number NCT03679533 and with ISRCTN under number ISRCTN76069316.