America’s national fruit, the cranberry, could help improve your memory and brain function, and even lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. Emerging research shows that the equivalent of one cup of cranberries in a freeze dried powdered drink may protect the brain from dementia.
The cranberry for memory support
This particular study looked at the benefits of consuming the equivalent of a cup of cranberries a day for 50 to 80-year-olds for 12 weeks. “”Past studies have shown that higher dietary flavonoid intake is associated with slower rates of cognitive decline and dementia. And foods rich in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which give berries their red, blue, or purple colour, have been found to improve cognition,” said lead researcher Dr David Vauzour, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.
“Cranberries are rich in these micronutrients and have been recognized for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We wanted to find out more about how cranberries could help reduce age-related neurodegeneration,” he said.
By 2050, dementia is expected to affect around 152 million people. With no known cure, lifestyle interventions, like diet, could help lessen disease risk and burden.
Cranberries Improved Memory
Here is what the researchers found:
- Consuming cranberries significantly improved the participants’ memory of everyday events, neural functioning and delivery of blood to the brain.
- The cranberry group showed a significant decrease in LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, which can lead to the thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.
This supports the idea that cranberries can improve both memory and vascular health. “The findings of this study are very encouraging, especially considering that a relatively short 12-week cranberry intervention was able to produce significant improvements in memory and neural function,” said Dr. Vazour.
Ways to get more cranberries in your diet
- Look for high quality cranberry powdered dietary supplements to add to smoothies and drinks.
- Keep cranberries in your freezer to add to oatmeal and other hot cereals.
- Tossed fresh chopped cranberries in whole grain pilafs, salads and cooked vegetables like green beans, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
This article is provided by the Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, partnered with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of naturopathic medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing health care systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following initiatives:
- Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of naturopathic medicine
- Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
- Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine
Source: Emma Flanagan, Donnie Cameron, Rashed Sobhan, Chloe Wong, Matthew G. Pontifex, Nicole Tosi, Pedro Mena, Daniele Del Rio, Saber Sami, Arjan Narbad, Michael Müller, Michael Hornberger, David Vauzour. Chronic Consumption of Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) for 12 Weeks Improves Episodic Memory and Regional Brain Perfusion in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Groups Feasibility Study. Frontiers in Nutrition, 2022; 9 DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2022.849902
INM's team is made up of naturopathic doctors and health journalists.