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Healthy Brain Berries

Cranberries Are The New Blueberry!

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Move over blueberry….there’s another berry in town that is proven to repair brain cells that are linked to dementia. So which berry is great for your brain?

New Research on Cranberries

Here is the latest research on how cranberries impact brain health in some pretty incredible ways….and you want to know the specifics because I will show you how easy it can be to apply the scientific findings to real-world meal planning!

The study is very exciting and honestly, the finding doesn’t surprise me much because past studies have shown that diets high in plants that contain flavonoids are associated with slower rates of cognitive decline. Berries, all kinds, are rich in flavonoids. Cranberries contain flavonoids and are one of the few fruits that are high in proanthocyanins, a major anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant so they are extra potent!

So the study conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia found that eating a cup of cranberries every day could improve memory skills and lower the risk of dementia. So here’s what happened: 60 adults age 50-80 were divided into two groups. For 12 weeks, group A ate one cup of freeze dried cranberry powder daily; group B ate a placebo. The researchers found those who ate cranberries daily had better blood flow to the brain, stronger neural function and an improved ability to recall information. As a side bonus, LDL cholesterol – that’s the bad kind of cholesterol – was significantly lower in the cranberry group.

Frontiers Nutr, May 2022

Berry Good Advice for Cancer Thrivers

Digging a little deeper into the value of this study for cancer patients and survivors, because so many of them develop chemobrain that lingers for months or years after treatment.

In a study at Stanford University, scientists found a widely used chemotherapy drug called methotrexate caused a problem in three major cells within the brain – oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and microglia. The scientists concluded by stating that the more we understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to cognitive decline after cancer treatment, the faster we can help those with chemobrain.

Cell, Dec 2018

I wanted to know if scientists had studied the link between flavonoids and microglia, which are immune cells that can destroy foreign invaders in the brain and were one of the brain cells impacted by chemotherapy. Perhaps flavonoids could be an answer for those with chemobrain too! And it gets even more exciting! First off, flavonoids are detectable in brain—and scientists have discovered that they do regulate microglia cell activity directly and by dampening immune-to-brain signaling and may restore old microglia to their younger state!

Nutr Rev, Dec 2011

Now, before you rush off to the store…. Sweetened-dried cranberries were quite low in anthocyanins. Fresh will always be best, or berry powder that is minimally processed.

J Food Sci, Aug 2012

Other Berries Benefit Too!

If you don’t like cranberries or know you just won’t get enough berries consistently every week, the dietitians at Cancer Nutrition IQ have a solution for you! We recommend taking daily plant powders along with making effort to eat more plants – because it’s so important to get those plants into your body, consistently!

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