Scientists have found that strawberries are good fruits for brain health.
According to findings published in the ‘Journals of Gerontology Series A’, the researchers found that a natural compound in strawberries, fisetin, reduces mental defects and inflammation associated with ageing in mice.
The compound, which is an antioxidant that researchers said has the potential to help treat age-related mental decline and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.
The garden strawberry is a widely grown hybrid species of the genus ‘Fragaria’, collectively known as the strawberries. It is cultivated worldwide for its fruit. In Nigeria, strawberries are grown in areas that have temperate climate such as Jos and it is mostly bought by the rich and wealthy in Nigeria.
For their research, scientists from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, United States, U.S., fed three-month-old mice that were ageing prematurely either a daily dose of fisetin with their food for seven months or food with no fisetin.
Fisetin in particular might help prevent cognitive decline because it reduces brain inflammation, maintains the levels of the important omega-3 fatty acid DHA in the brain, and reduces the loss of proteins involved in the connections between nerve cells.
Fisetin, is a plant polyphenol from the flavonoid group. It can be found in many plants, where it serves as a colouring agent. It is also found in many fruits and vegetables, such as apples, persimmons, onions and cucumbers.
Two groups of mice were put through various activity and memory tests during the study. Scientists also studied the levels of certain proteins in the mice that were related to brain function, as well as responses to stress and bodily inflammation.
By the time they were 10 months old, mice that were not treated with fisetin struggled with the cognitive tests, and also had elevated markers of stress and inflammation.
Brain cells that typically are anti-inflammatory were also inflamed. But the 10-month-old mice that were treated with fisetin had similar behaviour, mental ability, and inflammatory markers to three-month-old mice that were ageing prematurely but were otherwise untreated.
Although, this is a mouse study, and the researchers claimed they can’t yet say that the results would be the same in humans. “But the findings are promising,” they stated.