Another recent study, also from Harvard but from a different group of researchers, recently found that berries might help reduce a man's risk of Parkinson's disease.
The current study included data on food consumption from the U.S. Nurses' Health Study, which began in 1980 and collected dietary information every four years. In the period between 1995 and 2001, the researchers began measuring cognitive function in just over 16,000 female volunteers.
At the time the researchers started measuring cognitive function, all of the study participants were older than 70. Cognitive function was measured twice with a two-year interval between each assessment.
The investigators found that women who had the highest intake of blueberries (more than one serving a week) and strawberries (more than twice a week), appeared to delay cognitive aging by as much as 2.5 years. Devore said other berries may also contribute to a reduction in cognitive aging, but there wasn't enough consumption of other berries, cherries or grapes to be able to study the effects of these fruits. A serving of blueberries or strawberries is a half-cup, she noted.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Robert Graham, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said: "Large epidemiological studies, such as this one, add to the basic science research that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of berries have a beneficial role in age-related cognitive decline. I would advise all my patients, at any age, to eat more berries. Berries are an easy, nutritious and delicious way preserve brain function."
Copperman, the nutritionist, said that "the current study demonstrates that women who consumed the most flavonoids, especially berries, had a slower cognitive decline over time than women with lower intakes. Increasing our intakes of fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to live a healthy life."
While the study found an ass
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