Dementia: The sweet treat that can reduce your risk of the brain condition – study

Dementia: Dr Sara on benefits of being in nature

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Dementia-busting diet involves all the usual cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle but there are also some specific foods that seem to be especially potent. Characterised by its sweet pleasant flavour, one food which has been found to reduce your risk by research is an all-time summer favourite – strawberries.

While strawberries are mainly sought out for their pleasant flavour, there’s more to the fruits than their taste.

The small red berries offer various benefits, ranging from antioxidant to anti-inflammatory properties.

In fact, the red fruit is so potent that it was linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study, published in the journal Nutrients.

Looking at 925 participants between the ages of 58 and 98, the researchers set out to investigate the link between strawberry intake and the brain condition.

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The participants had between zero to two servings of the sweet snack a week.

What’s more, this regime was only “weakly” correlated with other healthy food options.

One potent part contained within the red berry is anthocyanidin called pelargonidin.

But apart from this goodie, strawberries also offer anthocyanidins, flavonoids and vitamin C.

The participants, who were dementia-free at the beginning, had to also complete food frequency questionnaires.

Considering other factors like age, sex, education and physical activity, the research team analysed the data that eventually saw 245 participants develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The diagnosis process was based on standard criteria and clinical examination.

The researchers concluded that higher strawberry consumption was associated with a lower risk of dementia.

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They also noticed that intakes of vitamin C, pelargonidin, anthocyanidins and flavonoids were each linked with a lower risk as well.

The research team concluded that enjoying strawberries as well as all of these potent ingredients could help your risk of Alzheimer’s disease fall.

The research added: “Consumption of strawberries may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia in older adults, probably due to neuroprotective action of pelargonidin, anthocyanidins, and total flavonoids.

“Once replicated in other cohorts and confirmed by a clinical trial, these findings may have important public health implications, as the addition of strawberries to one’s diet can be an easy adaptation for older adults to reduce Alzheimer’s dementia risk.”

However, the study also reports some limitations and notes that the link between the fruit and the condition is observational.

What are the symptoms of dementia?

Although dementia is mainly linked to memory loss, the condition can also have an impact on your speech, thinking, feelings and behaviour.

According to the NHS, the main signs to watch out for include problems with:

  • Memory loss
  • Thinking speed
  • Mental sharpness and quickness
  • Language (using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking)
  • Understanding
  • Judgement
  • Mood
  • Movement
  • Difficulties doing daily activities.

The health service recommends speaking to your GP if you or someone you know struggles with dementia symptoms.

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