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Compounds in berries improve brain function, reverse aging

Saturday, August 28, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: berries, aging, health news

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(NaturalNews) The aging process involves a steady decline in the brain's ability to guard itself from oxidative stress and inflammation. But new research has found that certain compounds in fruits like blueberries, strawberries and acai berries, not only help the brain to stay in tip-top shape, but they actually help to reverse the damaging effects of aging.

When functioning properly, the brain continually works to clean up and "recycle" various toxic proteins that get lodged in the brain over time. These proteins contribute to cognitive dysfunction and overall memory loss, especially as a person ages, and must be regularly removed. The powerful antioxidants in berries exhibit demonstrable benefits in helping the brain to clean up these proteins and improve overall nerve function.

"The good news is that natural compounds called polyphenolics found in fruits, vegetables and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may protect against age-associated decline," explained Shibu Poulose, Ph.D., author of the study.

According to Poulose, this breakthrough study is the first of its kind to identify the powerful effects of berries in maintaining and improving brain function.

"[I]n aging, microglia (the cells responsible for brain maintenance) fail to do their work, and debris build up," told Poulose in a report. "In addition, the microglia become over-activated and actually begin to damage healthy cells in the brain. Our research suggests that the polyphenolics in berries have a rescuing effect. They seem to restore the normal housekeeping function."

According to research, some of the most antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables are those with deep, rich color pigments like red, orange and blue. Many experts recommend eating a wide variety of different colored fruits and vegetables to attain the diverse array of unique anthocyanins present in all of them.

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