Cognitive decline, the unnatural loss of memory and ability to think clearly as we age is rapidly approaching epidemic proportions. Poor diet and lifestyle choices have taken a toll after we subject our body to years and decades of abuse from sugar, hydrogenated fats, pollution and lack of physical activity. Eventually the brain succumbs to the continual assault, as the chemical and electrical connections that define our personality and very being are eroded and amyloid protein tangles that are normally cleared begin to snuff out our identity.
Researchers have postulated for years that fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries provide support for an aging brain, and new research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explains how a variety of berry fruits have beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes. Including one to two servings each day of these delicious fruits may just help restore optimal memory function and prevent cognitive decline.
Berries Boost Brain Health by Providing Potent Antioxidant Support
Researchers have long postulated that berry fruits have a beneficial effect on the brain, and set to analyze the strength of the evidence as they extensively reviewed cellular, animal and human studies on the topic. Lead research authority, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale of the USDA Agricultural Research Service at Tufts University indicated that berries possess “neuro-available, neuro-active phytochemicals that offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and direct effects on the brain.”
The research team performed an extensive analysis of prior studies that reviewed cellular, animal and human bodies of work to judge the evidence for potential benefits afforded by berry consumption in older adults. The review revealed that eating a wide variety of different colored berries can boost brain health by helping multiple metabolic systems in the body.
The scientists determined that berry fruits contain very high levels of antioxidants that protect the delicate brain structure from the damaging oxidative effects of free radicals. The brain is among the most metabolically active organs in the body and generates large quantities of free radicals as a result. Our natural capacity to produce antioxidants is quickly overcome and berries provide a critical supply to maintain healthy cellular function.
Eat Several Servings of Berries Daily to Lower Systemic Inflammation
Further, researchers found that berry fruits alter the way neurons communicate through a sophisticated array of chemical transmitters and electrical signals. Berry consumption affects changes in brain signaling to inhibit inflammation contributing to neuronal damage. This action results in improvements to both motor control and levels of cognition, memory and thought.
The research team concluded “berry fruits mediate signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell survival in addition to enhancing neuroplasticity, neurotransmission, and calcium buffering, all of which lead to attenuation of age- and pathology-related deficits in behavior.” Each variety of berry is packed with a wide assortment of potent phytonutrients, all with independent action on the aging brain. Be sure to eat several servings of berries daily, including many different colors to improve brain health, memory and cognition.