Dr Zoe says walking can reduce risk of dementia

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While dementia represents a scary prospect, you’re not entirely at the mercy of the brain condition. One way to reduce your risk of dementia is through a healthy diet. With that in mind, a doctor has shared a sweet snack packed with anthocyanins that could reduce your risk by a whopping 34 percent.

Characterised by their pleasant sweet flavour, there’s more to strawberries than their taste.

The small red fruits offer various benefits, ranging from antioxidants to anti-inflammatory properties.

Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy said: “Strawberries are packed full of flavonoids, specifically anthocyanidins, such as pelargonidin.

“Pelargonidin is the primary constituent in strawberries which appears to have protective effects.”

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You don’t have to just rely on the doctor’s word as research, published in the journal Nutrients, also highlights their potent effects on dementia.

Looking at 925 participants from retirement communities, strawberries were found to cut the risk of the mind-robbing condition.

The participants had between zero to two servings of the sweet snack a week.

What’s more, the diet regime was only “weakly” correlated with other healthy food options.

Dr Lee said: “One to two servings of strawberries per week reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 34 percent.

“The portion size was described as ‘natural portion size’ in the study.”

This isn’t the only research that highlighted the effects of anthocyanidins on cognitive decline. The other study in the journal Annals of Neurology considered a bigger sample, settling on 16,010 participants.

The research team observed the same effect, with pelargonidin slowing down the rate of cognitive decline.

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Dr Lee said: “In animal studies, strawberries have been shown to increase neurogenesis (the production of new brain cells) and reduce neuronal ageing by lowering oxidative stress.

“Anthocyanidins such as pelargonidin have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

“In a laboratory study of rats with Alzheimer’s Disease, a strawberry extract was found to improve memory function.”

However, the research also reported some limitations, stressing the link between the fruit and lower risk of dementia is merely observational.

The expert added: “Before you stack your trolley with strawberries, remember this 2019 study was observational, so it is not possible to draw firm conclusions.

“Also, the study only asked about strawberries, and it is perfectly possible that other berries, such as raspberries and blueberries also have a similar effect.”

What are the symptoms of dementia?

According to the NHS, the main signs of cognitive decline include problems with:

  • Memory loss
  • Thinking speed
  • Mental sharpness and quickness
  • Language (using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking)
  • Understanding
  • Judgement
  • Mood
  • Movement
  • Difficulties doing daily activities.

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