Could Cranberries Help Ward Off Dementia?

Could a cup of cranberries a day keep dementia away? Findings from new research on cranberry consumption say it may.

The research team studied the benefits of consuming cranberries daily among 50 to 80-year-olds. There were 60 cognitively healthy participants. Half of the participants consumed freeze-dried cranberry powder equivalent to 1 cup of fresh cranberries per day. The other half consumed a placebo.

They found:

  • Consuming cranberries significantly improved the participants’ memory of everyday events (visual episodic memory), neural functioning, and delivery of blood to the brain (brain perfusion).
  • The cranberry group also exhibited a significant decrease in LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, known to contribute to the thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.

Lead researcher Dr. David Vauzour, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said:


“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 color, have been found to improve cognition. Cranberries are rich in these micronutrients and have been recognized for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”

While more research is needed on the mechanisms of how cranberries conferred these effects, the results are promising for the future of neurological health. The participants benefited from the cranberries after only 12 weeks. So long-term use should definitely be studied.

Considering that dementia and cognitive decline are so hard to treat, lifestyle and diet interventions can play a huge role in the possible prevention of these diseases in the first place.
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