Berries Linked to Better Brain Function

A new study from the American Chemical Society shows that a berry-rich diet can activate the brain's cleaning process, removing toxins and inessential compounds that may interfere with brain function. This process is called autophagy where brain cells called microglia are responsible for cleaning up and recycling toxic proteins. When people age, the microglia becomes ineffective and toxic builds up. Foods with polyphenol like berries and nuts stimulate autophagy while inhibiting proteins that shut it down.

Berries have always been consistently considered one of those "miracle superfoods" has tremendous health benefits. They are low in calories, fat free, a great source of fibre and vitamins, and most importantly, full of polyphenol compounds that are linked to anti-aging and anti-cancer effects. In fact, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries have been shown to improve memory in aged animals by protecting the brain with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.

There have been many other foods that have been linked to anti-aging. A large U.S. study showed that those with higher intakes of salad dressing, nuts, fish, chicken, tomatoes, fruit, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and low intakes of fatty dairy, red meat and butter were 38% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. A similar report concluded that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans and olive oil guarded against Alzheimer's as well.

Source: "Berries may help your brain clean house" The Globe and Mail. August 25, 2010 (L1)

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