New Healthy Reasons Why Berries Activate, Protect Aging Brains

Scientists have added to our understanding of why eating blueberries, strawberries and acai berries help to keep us Sensual and Superyoung, with primed-for -iving brains. Shibu Poulose, Ph.D., lead researcher who presented the report before the American Chemical Society (ACS), concluded that berries and possibly walnuts, activate the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism. Berries flip the switch that cleans up and recycles toxic proteins linked to age-related memory loss and other mental decline.

Earlier research on berries focused on their fight against inflammation and oxidative damage. Berries are particularly rich in natural compounds called polyphenolics, found in fruits, vegetables and nuts. In past studies, old lab rats fed for two months on diets containing 2 percent high-antioxidant strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry extract showed a reversal of age-related deficits in nerve function and learning and remembering functionality.

The new research focuses on the process called autophagy, in which cells called microglia — a type of glial cell that are the resident macrophages of the brain and spinal cord — remove and recycle biochemical debris that left untended would interfere with brain functions.

“But in aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up,” Poulose explained. “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. These findings are the first to show these effects of berries.” via Science Daily

These findings are yet one more strong affirmation of the Sensual and Superyoung benefits of eating foods rich in polyphenolics. Many other fruits and vegetables contain these chemicals ― especially those with deep red, orange, or blue colors. These colors come from pigments termed anthocyanins that are good antioxidants.