Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's and other Neurodegenerative diseases are on the rise within cultures around the globe that have adopted the North American lifestyle and diet. One of the scariest things we face as we age is losing our ability to function and reason on a coherent level. Celebrities like Michael J. Fox are bringing Parkinson's disease to the limelight and scientists are hopeful that a cure will be available within the next few decades. I’ve lost two Aunts to Alzheimer’s and the prescription drugs are failing to inhibit progression, so the only thing we can do is to make sure we're getting proper cellular nutrition.
Scan any list of so-called superfoods on the web and you’ll find the same group of berries at the top of the list. They’re low in calories, fat free and a good source of fibre and vitamins. But their superfood status is credited largely to outstanding polyphenol content, natural compounds linked with anti-aging, anti-cancer and heart health benefits. But it gets even better. A new study suggests properties in berries remove toxins that interfere with brain function. Now berries can help your brain clean house.It seems that a berry-rich diet can activate the brain?s natural house-cleaning process, helping remove toxins and other compounds that can interfere with brain function. iStockphoto
When it comes to anti-aging, previous studies have demonstrated the ability of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc to slow cognitive decline and improve memory in aged animals. It’s thought that polyphenols protect the brain through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
A new study presented last week at the 240th meeting of the American Chemical Society suggests that berries do more to keep your brain healthy as you age than fight harmful free radicals and dampen inflammation. It seems that a berry-rich diet can activate the brain’s natural house-cleaning process, helping remove toxins and other compounds that can interfere with brain function.
Brain cells called microglia are responsible for the clean-up and recycling of toxic proteins, a process called autophagy. In aging, however, microglia fail to do their work properly and toxic debris builds up. In addition, microglia become over-activated and actually begins to damage healthy brain cells.
In the study, researchers from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston exposed cultures of mouse brain cells to extracts of a variety of berries as well as walnuts, which are also rich in polyphenols. The extracts were the human equivalent to eating one cup of fresh berries or 14 walnut halves. The berry and walnut extracts inhibited the action of a protein than normally shuts down autophagy and increased the levels of proteins that turn on the brain’s house-keeping process.
The main source of polyphenols is your diet. While berries like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and walnuts are excellent sources so are cherries, cranberries, plums, pomegranate seeds, prunes and red and purple grapes. Knowing the benefits these little nutrient powerhouses posses, I’ve made berries a key part of my morning breakfast ritual for years, and for the past year, in an effort to increase my consumption of berries to my diet, I have added a couple ounces of Youth Juice every morning. Each bottle of YJ is locally grown and manufactured whole food product contains 7 lbs of the same berries featured in the study above.
Other foods have also been shown to slow aging of the brain. Earlier this year, a large U.S. study revealed that individuals who had higher intakes of salad, nuts, fish, tomatoes, fruit, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and lower intakes of high-fat dairy, red meat, organ meats and butter were 38 per cent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who adhered the least to this dietary pattern. Another report concluded that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans and olive oil guarded against Alzheimer’s.
Brain cells should be protected more so than any other cells in your body for one very good reason - they do not regenerate. Once brain cells die, they're gone forever, unlike other cells in your body. If you don't make efforts to clear out the free radicals in the brain, degeneration will begin to occur on a daily basis. Think about it!
Enjoy the Ride….Rob