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Women Who Eat Strawberries Once a Month Have Lower Risk for Diabetes, Alzheimer’s

Study shows improvement in spatial memory and word recognition.

The California Strawberry Commission is highlighting separate studies linking strawberry consumption to a lower risk of developing diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.  In one of the studies, the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University near Boston found that supplementing older adults’ diets with about two cups per day can improve cognition.

In the other, Harvard University researchers found that women who ate strawberries at least once a month had a lower risk for developing diabetes than those who didn’t.

Such studies have an impact on consumers’ attitudes, asserts Chris Christian, the commission’s senior vice president. “I think it certainly could increase demand for strawberries as people understand their health benefits,” Christian said. “We’re working to promote the results so consumers and health professionals will be better educated about the benefits of strawberries in their daily diet.”

The Tufts study compared mobility and cognitive test results of groups of people ages 60-75 who ate or abstained from strawberries and found that the strawberry-eating group showed improvement in spatial memory and word recognition, although they did not show measurable improvements in mobility, according to the commission.

The Harvard study tracked 37,000 nondiabetic middle-aged women over a 14-year period and found that women who ate more strawberries were less likely to develop higher levels of hemoglobin A1c, a marker for diabetes.

“We found that eating even a modest amount of strawberries on a weekly basis was associated with a decreased risk of developing diabetes,” Harvard researcher Howard Sesso said when he presented the results to the American Diabetes Association earlier this year.

Practice Pearls:

  • Strawberries linked to prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.
  • Strawberry-eating group showed improvement in spatial memory and word recognition.
  • The strawberry group did not show measurable improvements in mobility.

767.05. M. G. Miller, *N. Thangthaeng, T. M. Scott, B. Shukitt-Hale “Effects of strawberry supplementation on mobility and cognition in older adults.” Neurosci. and Aging, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutr. Res. Ctr. On Aging At Tufts Univ., Boston, MA