If you’re already incorporating strawberries into your diet, you’re in for some good news. The vitamin C–packed superfood not only helps as an antioxidant to boost immunity and fight free radicals, but as a new study shows, they can also help prevent mental aging, age-related dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and strokes.
According to a recent study published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A, a natural compound found in strawberries called fisetin lessens cognitive degeneration and inflammation. A team of researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies conducted a study using two groups of mice who had aged prematurely. One group was given a daily dose of fisetin with their food for seven months while the second group was not.
The researchers conducted activity and memory tests on the mice while examining stress, inflammation and levels of protein related to brain function. “At 10 months, the differences between these two groups were striking,” says senior staff scientist at Salk and lead study author Pamela Maher. The group of mice that did not consume fisetin had problems with the tests and elevated markers for stress and inflammation. The mice who consumed fisetin daily did not have these same difficulties.
“Mice are not people, of course, but there are enough similarities that we think fisetin warrants a closer look, not only for potentially treating sporadic Alzheimer’s but also for reducing some of the cognitive effects associated with aging, generally,” says Maher, who hopes to conduct a future study with human participants to confirm the findings. But, in the meantime we can count these results as another reason to feel good about eating a big bowl of strawberries.