Tests on mice have revealed that eating berries may be good for mental health although scientists have said that it is too early to put these applications towards humans.
Researchers, Barbara Shukitt-Hale and colleagues at Tufts University have studied 60 young male rats, after splitting them into three groups. The details of the study have been reported in the online edition of the health magazine WebMD.
The first group of rats was given plain chow with no berries. The next group got the same chow mixed with strawberry extract. The third group got chow that was laced with blueberry extract.
Following two months of such a diet, the researchers measured the rats` brain levels of dopamine, a multifunctional chemical in the brain. If there is a decrease in dopamine memory can decrease, as well as a lowering of attention and problem solving skills.
However the health of the brain of the rats that had eaten berries showed some improvement.
The research team led by Shukitt-Hale, however, does not advocate any particular type of berry as benefiting the brain the most.
Shukitt-Hale said, "Berries vary in their nutrient mixes and may have different brain effects, but that`s not certain yet."
In the online edition of the journal Neurobiology of Aging The researchers report that diets rich in berries may aid the aging brain to stay sharp.
Trying not to raise hopes too high, the scientists say "It`s unknown if these findings apply to human brains."