Monday, December 10, 2012

Berries and Fruits Enhance Brain Signaling to Prevent Cognitive Decline and Promote Brain Health

Berry fruits including blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are not only refreshing and tasty, but they also provide a wide variety of phytonutrients that cross the blood-brain barrier to enhance neural communications and prevent oxidation and inflammation. This has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes that alter behavior and cause normal thought processes to run askew.

Researchers reporting the result of a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have identified neurological benefits associated with the consumption of berry fruits, including their now well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Eating the fruits in their natural state or using dietary supplements is shown to have dramatic direct effects on the brain in a meta-analysis of animal and human studies on the topic.

Fresh Berries Support Brain Health by Neutralizing Free Radicals and Lowering Inflammation
As we live longer, the toll of excessive oxidative assaults on the brain can result in loss of memory and cognitive decline as inflammation limits the electrical and chemical response within nerve synapses and cellular structures. A review of past studies demonstrated that consumption of berry fruits or standardized supplements can aid brain health in several ways.

Lead study authors, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale and Marshall G. Miller from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University found that berries enhance neuroplasticity, neurotransmission, and calcium buffering, all of which lead to attenuation of age and pathology-related deficits in behavior. Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. Suppression of free radicals was identified as a primary action of consuming the natural fruits.

Include Several Daily Servings of Fruits and Berries to Preserve Brain Health
Additionally, the researchers noted that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contributes to neuronal damage and helps to improve both motor control and cognition. The study confirmed the potent multimodal effect of berry consumption, but indicated that further studies would be required to determine if benefits are a result of individual compounds shared between berry fruits or whether the unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit simply have similar effects.

There is little doubt about the importance of including a wide array of berries in all shapes, sizes and colors to your regular diet. Nutritionists recommend eating at least one-half cup of the raw fruit each day to help prevent cognitive decline, loss of memory and Alzheimer’s dementia.

No comments: