Food for thought: Preventing decline and improving cognition through diet and dietary advice in older people at risk

Purple foods

Can changing the diet of 60 to 85-year-olds improve memory?

Can purple food help prevent cognitive decline? This is the question researchers want to answer with their new study ‘Food for thought: Preventing decline and improving cognition through diet and dietary advice in older people at risk’.

We are recruiting adults aged 60 to 85 years old who have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or who are experiencing memory issues.

We’re looking for people who are having problems with their memory and who want to find out if changing their diet could help slow their decline

Professor Karen Charlton

“Participants should be willing to participate in a six-month study, and attend either University of New South Wales campus in Kensington, Sydney or University of Wollongong’s campus in Wollongong. 

“It’s an exciting project because previous research we’ve done has found promising effects of purple food, such as cherries and plums, on memory and cardiovascular risk factors.”

The deep-red and purple-blue colour found in some fruits and vegetables is a result of naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins. They have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities which may protect human brain cells from damage.

“By taking part in this study you will help scientists better understand how anthocyanins work in the body and if they can play a role in slowing or preventing memory decline,” said Professor Charlton, a research dietician in the School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences, University of Wollongong.

For more information and to register your interest

Call (02) 9348 1694 or email 


This is a multi-centre study being conducted by the School of Medicine and the School of Psychology at the University of Wollongong (UOW), the School Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) Institute, in collaboration with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD). 

This research also forms a component of the thesis for a student completing a Doctor of Philosophy, and an honours student completing Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours). This research is funded by the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration under the World Class Research Project Grant funding scheme.