Monday, June 10, 2013

What Is the Connection Between Berries and Cognitive Decline?

Cognitive decline is an issue that many seniors face, as the ability of the brain to function efficiency wanes as the aging process takes place. This is natural, but it can be slowed with the right approach. A study published in 2012 in the Annals of Neurology shows that the consumption of berries may actually help to reduce the rate of cognitive decline that seniors experience. For dementia care and Alzheimer's care, Chapel Hill, professionals, this is a wonderful breakthrough, as it supplies eldercare providers with information that can help them to assist their seniors in maintaining the highest degree of cognitive function possible.

How Do Berries Slow Cognitive Decline?
Professionals who provide care for the elderly are encouraged to understand just how berries work with the brain to improve function. According to a blog post that recaps the findings of the study, berries are able to achieve this goal because of their high concentration of flavonoids.1 The flavonoids that berries contain are called anthocyanidins, which are unique in that they are able to cross the blood brain barrier. As such, they can directly infiltrate the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that plays a major role regarding memory and learning. The blog post explains that the ability to cross the blood brain barrier is key, as the inability to do so is what prevents many new drugs from being effective.

In addition to entering the hippocampus directly, these flavonoids are useful because they are antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. When the brain becomes inflamed or undergoes stress, the blog post explains, it shows a decline in function.

Adding Berries to Your Senior's Diet
While eating berries every day cannot completely prevent cognitive decline, research indicates that it can slow the process. As such, it is a good idea to encourage your elderly loved one to eat berries by keeping a fresh supply on hand. Go ahead and wash the berries and store them in containers in your senior's refrigerator so that they can snack on them whenever they would like. Additionally, you might add them to your loved one's breakfast or dessert.


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