According to a new study, berries like strawberries, blueberries and acai berries help to recycle toxic proteins that are linked to age-related memory loss and other mental decline.
Shibu Poulose, PhD, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and lead researcher said, the most important factor that lead to aging was the decline in the body's ability to protect itself against inflammation and oxidative damage. It is this that leads to degenerative brain diseases, heart disease, cancer, and other age-related disorders he explained. He added, “The good news is that natural compounds called polyphenolics found in fruits, vegetables and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may protect against age-associated decline.”
The study report says that berries and some nuts like walnuts activate the brain's natural ‘housekeeper’ mechanisms that are normally performed by cells called microglia. These microglia remove and recycle biochemical debris that otherwise would interfere with brain function. With age these microglia fail to do their job. 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.” The study involved mouse brain tissue where Poulose and his colleague investigated the microglial functions.
The study was presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston.