According to a new study published today, cranberries exhibit neuroprotective properties.
The researchers looked into the health benefits of eating one cup of cranberries per day for volunteers aged 50 to 80.
They believe these discoveries will help with dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders treatment.
Dr. David Vauzour, a researcher at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, stated that by 2050, it is anticipated that 152 million individuals will have dementia. Given the lack of a known medication or cure, it’s critical to look into modifiable lifestyle changes, such as diet, that can reduce illness risk and severity.
Increased flavonoid consumption has been related to a decreased incidence of cognitive decline and dementia in previous research. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, the pigments that give berries their red, blue, or purple colour, have also been demonstrated to improve cognitive function in humans. These pigments are abundant in berries.
Cranberries are also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory micronutrients, earning them widespread praise for their health benefits.
Cranberries: a superfood for your brain.
The researchers in this new study examined how cranberries affected the cognitive performance and cholesterol levels of 60 cognitively healthy people for a period of twelve weeks.
Fifty percent of the trial participants drank daily freeze-dried cranberry powder, which was comparable to one cup or one hundred grammes of fresh cranberries. The other participants received a placebo.
This is one of the first studies to look at how cranberries affect human cognition and brain health over time.
According to the researchers, consuming cranberries boosted people’s capacity to recall ordinary experiences (visual episodic memory), neuronal activity, and blood flow to the brain (brain perfusion).
They found that participants who drank the cranberry powder performed much better in episodic memory tests. They also had better blood flow to parts of the brain that aid cognition, such as memory consolidation and retrieval, as well as better circulation of important nutrients like oxygen and glucose.
Atherosclerosis, or the thickness or hardening of arteries caused by plaque deposition along the artery’s inner lining, has been related to LDL cholesterol, generally known as “bad” cholesterol. The cranberry group had significantly reduced LDL cholesterol levels, which is known to contribute to atherosclerosis. This supports the theory that cranberries can help with cardiovascular health, blood flow to the brain, and cognitive abilities.
Despite this promising result, to make major progress in this field, researchers must show that cranberry supplementation improves cognitive performance in human lab tests and learn more about the mechanisms involved.
The findings of this study are particularly intriguing, however, because a 12-week cranberry intervention was able to produce significant memory and brain function alterations.
This paves the way for more research into the link between cranberries and nervous system health in the future.
It should however be noted that the Cranberry Institute helped the researchers by providing grant funding for their work. On this initiative, which was coordinated by the University of East Anglia, the University of East Anglia collaborated with the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, the University of Parma in Italy, and the Quadram Institute (UK).
Story Source: Original release written by University of East Anglia. Note: Content may be edited for style and length by Scible News.
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