Be Kind to Your Mind – Berry Compounds Protect the Aging Brain
One of the main revelations in modern health – due in a large part to advances in natural health – is that fighting inflammation and oxidative damage in the brain is a primary way to preserve cognitive function. Most people are aware that berries are rich sources of compounds, called polyphenols that fight against disease. The researchers reviewing studies in this report found that these components protect us in a variety of ways and for many conditions.
For example, polyphenols from blueberries protect the brain’s neuroplasticity – its ability to adapt, make new neural connections, and maintain memory. The authors found that a diet of blueberries significantly reduces levels of inflammatory marker Nf-KB, almost acting as a “fountain of youth” for the brain, considering that older brains typically have higher levels of Nf-KB than younger ones.
But aside from blueberries, strawberries and grapes also exhibit some of the same actions, even though their compounds vary.
While eating a berry-rich diet is highly recommended, one of the ways of ensuring a strong level of natural compounds is to add a grape seed extract to your regimen with highly absorbable oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). It ultimately may be one of the simplest ways you can preserve your memory for years to come.
Bensalem J, Dal-Pan A, Gillard E, Pallet V. Protective effects of berry polyphenols against age-related cognitive impairment. Nutrition and Aging. 2015; (vol.3): 89-106.
A growing body of evidence suggests that dietary interventions may delay or halt the progression of age-related health disorders and cognitive decline. Among the components of the human diet, polyphenols from berries are essential micronutrients that have been particularly studied for improving cognitive functions. In the present review, we highlight the health impact of major polyphenolic classes found in berries: flavanols, anthocyanins and stilbenes, focusing on resveratrol. The reports of beneficial effects of berry consumption on age-related cognitive decline and associated neurobiological processes in animals and human are underscored. We then discuss the potential benefit of each category of polyphenols on memory impairment and in neurodegenerative diseases. Berry polyphenols improve several types of memory and have a global effect on brain plasticity, partly through their antioxidant activity and/or their effect on neuronal signal transduction and neuroinflammation. Interestingly, accumulated bioavailability data suggest that most polyphenols, or at least key metabolites, can access the brain in sufficient concentrations. Collectively, the data accumulated so far suggest that dietary polyphenols can modulate brain health and function, and strengthen the importance of fruit consumption for a healthy brain aging and the prevention of age-related diseases. However, further preclinical work is needed to determine the most neuroactive nutraceutical formulations, whether through the diet or supplement, to subsequently design and perform informative clinical trials.