Those strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries? They’ll do wonders for your health and your noggin. “Large studies show some promise for berries and brain health, particularly in slowing cognitive decline,” says Ginger Hultin, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “A huge study found that women who ate more blueberries and strawberries saw an association with slower cognitive decline. Berries are high in flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that can cross the blood-brain barrier and possibly positively affect areas of the brain associated with learning and memory function. The reason for these positive results may be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the berries. The portion size used in the study was just half a cup of berries, and eating them daily appears to yield the best results.” Discover how berries at breakfast could help you lose weight.
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Great news for dark chocolate lovers: Several studies demonstrate the sweet treat’s brain-boosting powers, including enhanced cognitive function, reduced risk of dementia, and improved performance on memory activities. For example, one review study found that epicatechin, a flavanol found in cocoa, tea, berries, and other fruits, yields cognitive benefits—especially in tasks involving memory, executive function, and processing speed in older adults. Chocolate has even been found to assist in improving feelings of depression and anxiety and to help enhance feelings of calmness and contentedness, as it may boost levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin. Find out exactly what happens to your body when you eat chocolate.