Health

How berries keep your brain sharp and young

I spent the last month in Israel, where I was on a steady diet of beige foods: hummus, pita, tahini, falafel, and shawarma. It was delicious - and very filling - but I am happy to be back in Toronto for local fruit season.

berries

Masterfile

I spent the last month in Israel, where I was on a steady diet of beige foods: hummus, pita, tahini, falafel, and shawarma. It was delicious – and very filling – but I am happy to be back in Toronto for local fruit season. And my favourite part? Fresh, local berries. In addition to tasting great, there’s new evidence that berries can help keep a woman’s brain young.

Researchers have found that berries – especially strawberries and blueberries – can slow down the brain’s aging up to two and a half years. (Which seems increasingly important since I hit my thirties and cognitive decline has kicked in. Does anyone know where I left my umbrella?) In other words, eating lots of berries can ward off dementia and keep your mind functioning more optimally.

And why are berries such health powerhouses? It all comes down to flavanoids, a type of antioxidant that fends off the free radicals harmful to your brain cells. But, as usual, researchers caution that these positive results could be associated with broader healthy habits. Women who are sure to eat their berries may also work hard to get their daily exercise, eat their leafy greens and try to learn a second language.

If you’re looking for another way to eat berries – I like them by the handful, covered in plain yogurt and drizzled with honey or dark chocolate, and in smoothies – check out this blueberry and raspberry pie recipe.