A new article published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows strong scientific evidence that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berries can benefit the aging brain.
Berries have been the darlings of the superfood set ever since the antioxidant craze began. However, it's the more exotic fruits, like acai and goji berries, that have garnered the most attention. Since acai and goji berries aren't grown locally for many of us, it's great news that the rest of the berry family offers their superpowers as well.
In the review, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D., and Marshall G. Miller explain that continuing research confirms that eating berries has salubrious effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes such as attention span, executive function, reasoning, spatial orientation, and processing speed.
"In addition to their now well-known antioxidant effects, dietary supplementation with berry fruits also has direct effects on the brain. Intake of these fruits may help to prevent age-related neurodegeneration and resulting changes in cognitive and motor function," the authors write.
They reached their conclusions through extensive analysis of cellular, animal and human studies on the subject.
The basic consensus is that berries contain high levels of antioxidants, and that they change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling help to prevent damaging inflammation in the brain and work to improve both motor control and cognition.
As longer lifespans in the human population create an increases in Alzheimer's disease and other types of mental decline, it seems prudent to address brain health by any means necessary. What could be better than doing it with local food? Staying sharp never tasted so good.