Berry Good News

Eating certain berries shown to help aging brain stay healthy

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Blueberries, strawberries and acai berries may keep the brain active and healthy in a surprising new way, according to a study from the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

A progressive decline in the body's ability to ward against inflammation and oxidative damage as we age leaves us vulnerable to the effects of degenerative brain diseases, heart disease and cancer.

But polyphenolics (natural compounds often found in nuts, fruits and vegetables) have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may buffer against age-associated decline.

Nerve functions declines in older adults in part because of a reduction in the aging brain's lessened ability to "clean house," according to the research. Cells called microglia are the housekeepers; they remove and recycle biochemical debris that interferes with brain activity.

As brains age, the microglia fail to work as hard and trash piles up, so to speak. But the polyphenolics in blueberries, acai berries and strawberries appear to rescue microglia and restore normative housecleaning functions.

We're barely into the winter season, but it's never to early start spring cleaning when your brain's concerned. Why not start with a berry-delicious fruit salad?

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 23, 2010
Last Updated:
December 27, 2010