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Longevity Briefs: Eating strawberries boosts brain function

Posted on 29 January 2021

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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of novel research in biology, medicine, or biotechnology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: To think about strawberries often conjures up images of the sun beating down on one of those elusive, balmy British summers day. Sat at a picnic with some prosecco and cheese, or tucking into an overflowing bowl of strawberries and cream on top of Henman hill at wimbledon, listening to the rhythmic thumps as the ball is hit back and forth over the net.

Associating these delectably juicy berries with improved mental capabilities is not one that springs straight to mind. However, as some scientists at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston have shown, maybe it should be.

What did the researchers do: In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers gathered a group of men and women between the ages of 60-75 to consume two cups of freeze-dried strawberries a day, or placebo, for 90 days. By performing a number of physical and mental tests, before, and after the 90 days the researchers were able to evaluate the difference that consuming strawberries had on health.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: Despite there being no difference in physical performance, the data showed that those who consumed the strawberries for 90 days experienced improved cognitive skills.

These participants had significantly better spatial navigation, a vital skill for identifying locations and not getting lost, one which is crucial that we maintain as we get older, and verbal recall, which is important for communication.

The study comprised of only 37 participants, so a larger study is needed to confirm these findings.

However, in the mean time, we will take any reason to warrant taking another bowl of strawberries & cream!

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