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Expert Advice: Which Berry Is Best for Keeping My Mind Sharp?

They're all excellent for cognition, but one berry stands out.

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We’ve all heard that berries are great for cognitive health because of their antioxidants and vitamins. But is there one berry in particular that will help boost our mental sharpness more than the others? One of our readers wrote to our experts this week to ask, and they had an interesting answer.

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Meet our expert panel.

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. They are also the bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol (available at Amazon.com). To ask them a question, send an email to health@firstforwomen.com.

How can I keep my brain healthy?

Q: I keep hearing that berries can keep my mind sharp as I get older. But is one better than the other?

A: All berries boast compounds that counteract the effects of free radicals, unstable molecules that impair cells’ ability to function and are linked to many age-related diseases. There’s evidence that regularly eating any kind of berries can help prevent the cellular damage thought to cause dementia.

But if we had to choose one, we’d pick cranberries. A recent study found that when subjects ages 50 to 80 ate the equivalent of 1 cup of fresh cranberries daily (½ cup dried, or 8 ounces of 100 percent cranberry juice with no added sugar) for 12 weeks, they had a significant increase in recall on memory tests compared to those who got a placebo. Plus, they experienced an improvement in the circulation of essential nutrients to important parts of the brain that support memory consolidation and retrieval. Cranberries are widely available year-round frozen or dried and are great in smoothies, oatmeal, and salads.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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