This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
A study published in the Annals of Neurology sheds new light on the notion that berries can help ward off cognitive decline and improve memory, suggesting there is a specific antioxidant you should be consuming.
Investigators examined data collected from the Nurses’ Health Study and discovered that women who consumed a half cup of blueberries two or more times a week delayed cognitive decline by as much as 2.5 years.
While many fruits and vegetables contain similar protective antioxidants known as flavonoids, berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, cherries and elderberries, contain a specific type of flavonoid called anthocyanidins.
Anthocyanidins can cross the blood-brain barrier, offering free-radical protection to parts of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
Lead author of the study, Elizabeth Devore, an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School noted, “Given that we know that fruits and vegetables are good for our health in general, our findings add to the idea that we should be consuming more, especially berries, as a way to help maintain memory in older ages.”
 Devore E et al. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Annals of Neurology. 25 April 2012. doi: 10.1002/ana.23594.
 Gordon S. Eating Berries Might Help Preserve Your Memory. HealthDay. 26 April 2012. http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=664108.