New research suggests a mix of berries for breakfast could help you stay alert for longer.
Eating a bowl of mixed berries in the morning may improve your concentration for up to six hours, helping to avoid tiredness in the afternoons.
Research by the University of Reading tested 40 adults aged 20 to 30, who consumed either a drink containing a mix of 75g (1 portion) each of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, or a placebo. The adults were then assessed on a computer-based task examining executive function and mood at two, four and six hours after consumption.
The results showed the majority of adults who consumed the berry drink sustained their cognitive performance throughout their day and their reaction time was faster six hours after having it, than it was after two hours and four hours. Those in the placebo group showed no improvement, though. Importantly, this increased speed of performance for those who consumed berries did not result in loss of accuracy.
Berries are a rich source of polyphenols, plant chemicals that contain antioxidants that help protect cells in the body from damage by free radicals, and also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, nutritionist for British Summer Fruits, which conducted the study with the University, explains: ‘From this study we can make the assumption that if someone working a nine-to-five job consumes a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, it will help to improve cognitive function, through both sustained accuracy and improved reaction speeds.
‘This research also points to the benefits of eating a mixture of berries, instead of just a single type of fruit.’
> The new research was presented at the recent International Conference on Polyphenols and Health in Quebec, Canada and will be published later in the year.