Aside from lazy days at the beach and evening picnics, one of the things we most look forward to about summer is the sudden availability and assortment of delicious in-season fruit, especially berries. Results of a study published yesterday in the Annals of Neurology, suggest that women who eat more than one serving of blueberries or strawberries a week experience a slower mental decline than women who consume fewer of the flavonoid-rich fruits. Now we have a reason for gorging ourselves with our favorite summer treats.
The study states that flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, in particular, anthocyanidins, which are found in blueberries and strawberries, affect parts of the brain that control memory, and eating lots of them may delay cognitive aging in women by up to 2.5 years. They also found that consuming a broader range of antioxidant foods in general, might be helpful for memory as well. Flavonoid-rich foods include citrus fruits, apples, tea, kale, grapes, red and yellow peppers, other berry varieties, red wine and dark chocolate among them. More berries, wine and chocolate? This is a diet we can fully endorse!
So how exactly can you increase your berry intake? Here are some of our favorite tips:
Throw them into a salad; they are delicious with balsamic dressing
Mash berries and use as a spread instead of jams or jellies
Blend raw berries into your favorite gravy or red sauce for added sweetness
Freeze them for a cool summer snack
Mix with chocolate and granola for a fresh twist on trail mix