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Photo: UOW

Fleshing out summer fruit’s potential brain health link

Could fruits like cherries, berries and plums slow the impacts of cognitive decline?

That’s what University of Wollongong (UOW) researchers are hoping to find out.

Their study is based on findings that suggest summer fruits like some berries and stone fruits contain compounds that are good for the brain.

At the root of their positive effects, research believe, are anthocyanins – the compounds that provide the purple, red and blue pigments in fruits, and are also found in red wine and some vegetables like red cabbage and eggplant.

The UOW study will explore whether consumption of anthocyanin-rich fruit juice will result in better outcomes after completion of a six-week memory training program compared to taking just the memory training.

Research lead Associate Professor Karen Charlton said it will focus on people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

“Memory training programs can prevent MCI worsening as well as develop skills to recall information and there is some evidence that diet can help too,” Charlton said.

“It is exciting to be at the forefront of research that may help prevent further memory decline in people with early signs, especially if it’s as easy as including delicious fruits on the daily menu.”

The research team will work with a range of fruits, including the queen garnet plum, which has more than double the levels of anthocyanins found in other plums.

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