I am not referring to The Cranberries, the Irish rock band from Limerick. I am talking about the bittersweet berry we tend only to love at Christmas. That is, unless it is my household. Then you will find them present & correct every Sunday lunch in a saucy form. Cranberries are not just for Christmas, I tell my family and friends as they fall about laughing as I proudly present my colourful condiment.
You can only imagine my absolute glee when I stumbled across this little jewel of a research article that states that little berries protect you from dementia. Maybe this is why I always remember them every Sunday.
So who gathered this fruitful information? The raw data was collected by the University of East Anglia in a parallel randomised placebo-controlled trial this year. 60 adults between 50 and 80 years had their cognitive function and biomarkers of neuronal signalling assessed over 12 weeks.
So where are the results juicy? The study showed that just a daily cup of fresh cranberries or the equivalent freeze-dried cranberry powder could provide protective properties from dementia even if you did not start adding them into your daily regime till you were fifty-odd. Those not given the placebo showed “significant improvement” in episodic memory performance and neural functioning. Also worth noting was a significant drop in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol in the group during the study.
Eating cranberries as a neuroprotective measure seems to be worth a shot to me, especially with estimations of dementia rising to 152 million people worldwide by 2050.
I, of course, wholeheartedly recommend them with Sunday lunch, but with the caveat that you must make your own as the shop-brought ones are mainly sugar or, even worse, glucose syrup. High sugar levels, unfortunately, will undo all the benefits of polyphenol-rich cranberries, as sugar is connected to an increased risk of dementia. Also, it is worth seeing the look on friends' faces when they try my little unsweetened berry condiment.
If you are concerned about your memory, Food For Your Brain has a free function Test and lots of useful information. https://foodforthebrain.org/the-cognitive-function-test/
Please note, if you are unwell, we advise you to see a healthcare practitioner.
Front. Nutr., 19 May 2022 Sec. Nutrition, Psychology and Brain Health https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.849902