Memory and brain function in the elderly can be improved with the help of cranberries.

Flavonoids are plant chemicals that may help human health. In plants, they operate as important pigments, colouring buds, flowers, fruits, and fall leaves. 

Cranberries have a lot of anthocyanins, which are a type of flavonoid found in plants that work as antioxidants.

By 2050, 152 million people will have dementia. There is no treatment, therefore we must pursue modifiable lifestyle measures, including food, to reduce disease risk and burden.

Higher flavonoid intake is linked to shorter cognitive decline and dementia. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which give berries their colour, boost cognition

Cognitively healthy 50-80-year-olds were separated into two groups. One group consumed 100g of freeze-dried, powdered cranberry daily, while the other received a placebo.

After 12 weeks, subjects who ingested cranberry powder had enhanced visual episodic memory, neuronal functioning, and brain blood flow (brain perfusion).

"We observed that cranberry powder dramatically increased episodic memory performance in combination with improved circulation of vital nutrients.

"The cranberry group also displayed a significant decrease in LDL or 'bad' cholesterol levels, believed to contribute to atherosclerosis," he noted.

This suggests cranberries can boost vascular health and brain perfusion and cognition.

This is one of the first studies to explore cranberries' long-term influence on human cognition and brain health. 

The researchers hope their findings will inform future tactics for preventing neurodegenerative illnesses like dementia.

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