Berries are good for us. We know that. But just how good are they?
A large systematic review looked at 49 studies that investigated the health benefits of anthocyanin consumption, a compound found in berries. The findings suggest that this powerful flavonoid has some potent effects.
The review looked at studies that focused on the six most anthocyanin-rich fruits; elderberry, chokeberry, black raspberry, bilberry, blackcurrant, and blueberry. The goal was to summarize the effects of anthocyanin intake on cognitive and cardiovascular health.
- In older adults, anthocyanin supplementation was associated with improved memory and improved symptoms of mild cognitive impairment.
- In young and middle-aged adults, improvements in attention, executive function and psychomotor speed were observed.
- Long term berry supplementation lowered blood pressure in adults with high risk for cardiometabolic disease.
- Improved vascular function was noted in all of the studies that measured it alongside anthocyanin intake.
The takeaway: There are many compounds in berries that make them a nutritional powerhouse. This review focused on just one and still found profound effects for cognitive and cardiovascular health. And the potential for preventative use is even further reaching. The researchers stated that these results could provide a “promising approach to lower the risk of developing cognitive decline.”