Adding this fruit to your diet can improve your memory, brain functiontext_fields
London: A new medical research published on Thursday has revealed that adding cranberries to one's diet, particularly in middle age, could help improve memory and brain function, and lower 'bad' cholesterol.
The new study highlights the neuroprotective potential of cranberries.
The results, published in the Frontiers in Nutrition, showed that consuming the equivalent of a cup of cranberries a day significantly improved the participants' - 50 to 80-year-olds - memory of everyday events (visual episodic memory), neural functioning, and delivery of blood to the brain (brain perfusion).
The team hopes that their findings could have implications for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
Further, the participants also exhibited a significant decrease in LDL or 'bad' cholesterol levels, known to contribute to atherosclerosis - 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 vascular health and may in part contribute to the improvement in brain perfusion and cognition, said the researchers at the University of East Anglia, UK.
According to the team, the study is one of the first to examine cranberries and their long-term impact on cognition and brain health in humans.
The findings could have implications for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
"Dementia is expected to affect around 152 million people by 2050. There is no known cure, so it is crucial that we seek modifiable lifestyle interventions, such as diet, that could help lessen disease risk and burden," said lead researcher Dr. David Vauzour, from the varsity.
The team investigated the impact of eating cranberries for 12 weeks on brain function and cholesterol among 60 cognitively healthy participants.
Half of the participants consumed freeze-dried cranberry powder, equivalent to a cup or 100g of fresh cranberries, daily. The other half consumed a placebo.
"We found that the participants who consumed the cranberry powder showed significantly improved episodic memory performance in combination with improved circulation of essential nutrients such as oxygen and glucose to important parts of the brain that support cognition -- specifically memory consolidation and retrieval," Vauzour said.