Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Subscribe to the Magazine for free
Subscribe for free to keep reading! If you are already subscribed, enter your email address to log back in.
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are you a healthcare practitioner?
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Study Finds Strawberries May Play a Role in Reducing Dementia Risk

Medically reviewed by 
Amitha Kalaichandran
Study Finds Strawberries May Play a Role in Reducing Dementia Risk

Dementia, a severe public health issue, lacks effective treatment. Over 55 million individuals globally are living with dementia, with a notable majority residing in low to middle-income countries. Each year sees the emergence of almost 10 million new cases of dementia worldwide.

It's well-known that Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders often begin to develop in midlife. In this period, insulin resistance, a key risk factor for dementia, becomes more common. Intriguingly, one study suggests that strawberries, a simple fruit that’s easy to incorporate into your diet, might offer a promising approach to mitigating dementia risks.

A recent controlled trial focused on overweight, middle-aged individuals with insulin resistance and subjective cognitive decline. Participants underwent a 12-week intervention involving daily consumption of whole-fruit strawberry powder. Throughout the study, other berry products were avoided to ensure accurate results.


What the Study Found

Remarkably, the study revealed two critical outcomes for those who consumed strawberry powder:

Reduced Memory Interference 

Participants showed improved memory performance, particularly in resisting interference by irrelevant information during learning and recall. This is significant as memory interference is a common issue in aging and more pronounced in dementia.

Decreased Depressive Symptoms

There was a notable reduction in symptoms of depression among the strawberry group. This improvement suggests a positive influence on mood and emotional well-being.

However, it's important to note that the study did not observe any significant effects on metabolic measures like insulin resistance. This could be due to various factors, including the sample size, duration of the intervention, or the specific anthocyanin dose used in strawberries.

The Role of Anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid, a class of compounds with antioxidant effects. They are responsible for the vibrant red, purple, and blue hues found in many fruits and vegetables. But beyond adding color to our plates, anthocyanins play a significant role in promoting health.

Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants. They combat oxidative stress in the body by neutralizing free radicals, harmful byproducts of cellular processes that can damage cells and contribute to aging and various diseases.

These compounds help reduce inflammation, which is at the root of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and possibly neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Some studies suggest that anthocyanins can cross the blood-brain barrier. This means they can potentially protect brain cells from damage and improve cognitive functions directly.

By reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, anthocyanins can contribute to heart health, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

There is evidence that anthocyanins can improve insulin sensitivity and contribute to better metabolic health, thus potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Implications and Future Directions

The study suggests that dietary interventions, such as the inclusion of strawberries and potentially other berry fruits in the diet, could be a simple, accessible, and natural strategy to help mitigate the risk of dementia, especially when started in midlife.

It also underscores the importance of a holistic approach to healthy aging. It supports the idea that what we eat can have a profound impact not just on our physical health but also on our cognitive and emotional well-being.

This research adds to the growing body of evidence that diet is crucial in maintaining cognitive health and could be a critical factor in preventing the decline associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

Lastly, it raises awareness about the potential cognitive benefits of easily accessible and commonly consumed foods, like strawberries, which could encourage more people to make healthier dietary choices.

Implications for Future Research


One thing this study highlights is the need for more comprehensive research into the role of anthocyanins and other flavonoids in cognitive health and dementia prevention. More extended studies with larger participant groups are necessary to validate and expand upon these findings. This would provide more definitive evidence of the benefits of berry consumption and help to determine optimal dosages and consumption patterns.

The study opens up avenues for exploring how exactly anthocyanins and other compounds in strawberries affect brain function. Understanding these mechanisms could lead to more targeted interventions. Further research could also examine how strawberries fit into broader dietary patterns and how these patterns as a whole contribute to cognitive health and the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, the absence of metabolic improvements despite cognitive benefits in the study subjects suggests a need for more research into the complex link between metabolic health and brain function.

While strawberries are not a cure for dementia, their potential to improve memory and mood in at-risk individuals is an exciting discovery. It opens up a simple, natural approach to possibly reducing the risk of dementia, emphasizing the importance of diet in our overall health and cognitive well-being. More research is needed, but adding strawberries to one's diet might be a sweet and beneficial choice for midlife health.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Learn More
No items found.

Lab Tests in This Article

No items found.
  1. Cloyd, J. (2023, October 17). The role of nutrition in managing depression: Foods that boost mood. Rupa Health.
  2. Jennings, A., Welch, A. A., Spector, T., Macgregor, A., & Cassidy, A. (2013). Intakes of anthocyanins and flavones are associated with biomarkers of insulin resistance and inflammation in women. The Journal of Nutrition, 144(2), 202–208.
  3. Khakham, C. (2023, May 23). An integrative medicine approach to Alzheimer’s disease: Testing, nutrition, and supplements. Rupa Health.
  4. Krikorian, R., Shidler, M. D., & Summer, S. S. (2023). Early intervention in cognitive aging with strawberry supplementation. Nutrients, 15(20), 4431.
  5. Rashid, K., Wachira, F. N., Nyabuga, J. N., Wanyonyi, B., Murilla, G., & Isaac, A. O. (2013). Kenyan purple tea anthocyanins ability to cross the blood brain barrier and reinforce brain antioxidant capacity in mice. Nutritional Neuroscience, 17(4), 178–185.
  6. Tena, N., Martín, J., & Asuero, A. G. (2020). State of the art of anthocyanins: Antioxidant activity, sources, bioavailability, and therapeutic effect in human health. Antioxidants, 9(5), 451.
  7. World Health Organization. (2023, March 15). Dementia. World Health Organization; World Health Organization.

Subscribe to the Magazine for free to keep reading!
Subscribe for free to keep reading, If you are already subscribed, enter your email address to log back in.
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are you a healthcare practitioner?
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.