Notes from Nutrition 2019

In older adults, more strawberry consumption linked to reduced cognitive decline risk

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / Povareshka
Getty Images / Povareshka

Related tags: Polyphenols, Polyphenol antioxidant, Cognitive decline, Cognitive function, Aging

Researchers at Rush University studied 924 residents of retirement communities in the Chicago area for around 6 years. Among the many patterns they analyzed was that residents who consumed more strawberries were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s dementia.

During the study, 245 participants developed Alzheimer’s Dementia. The researchers found that the higher the intake of vitamin C, anthocyanidin, and flavonoid in the diet, the less likely the participant was one of those 245 participants.

These nutrients inversely correlated to dementia risk also happen to be the ones abundant in strawberries. For example pelargonidin, a type of anthocyanidin, was one compound with a strong positive correlation.

“74% of pelargonidin [among the participants] came from strawberries, and pelargonidin is one of the primary bioactives in strawberries, so we speculated that it is something that is driving all the antioxidant and inflammatory effects,”​ Dr Puja Agarwal of the Rush Institute of Heathy Aging told us.

She presented her team’s findings at the Nutrition 2019 conference in Baltimore on Sunday, organized by the American Society for Nutrition, during a Flash Poster Session focused on nutrition and cognitive health.

They came to this conclusion by comparing results of neurological exams with data from dietary questionnaires and analyzing patterns from six years of data of the 924 participants, a process known as a longitudinal cohort study.

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that strawberries have some superpower over other fruits—it’s just that the questionnaire specifically asked about strawberries. “Because we ask specifically strawberry questions, we’re assuming they answered just for that,”​ Dr Agarwal said.

The results she presented on the effects of strawberries was just a small sliver of the patterns observed in the large dataset of Rush’s Memory and Aging Project,​ and this specific analysis was funded by the California Strawberry Commission to find health patterns in strawberry consumption.

“But definitely there are other foods which are rich in anthocyanidins and all the flavonoids which can be beneficial,”​ she said. “Blueberries are one of them, which is being researched these days. There are a lot of animal models and trials.”

Source: Nutrition 2019
Poster Presentation
“Strawberry Consumption Associated with Reduced Alzheimer’s Dementia Risk”
Authors: Agarwal, P; Wang, Y.; Thomas Holland; Bennet DA; Morris MC

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