In a post last summer, we wrote about the powerful antioxidant benefits of blueberries. A new scientific review of several studies finds strong evidence that blueberries and other berries can help prevent age-related memory loss and cognitive changes. As our population is aging and life-spans are getting longer, mental decline is a growing concern.
The new review, conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service at Tufts University, found that berry fruits can help the brain remain healthy in several ways. The high levels of antioxidants in berries help protect the brain from oxidative stress produced by harmful free radicals.
Berries also affect the way neurons in the brain communicate via “cell signaling.” These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contribute to neuron damage and improve both motor control and cognition.
As each berry has a unique combination of phytochemicals, it will take more research to determine whether these benefits are the result of individual compounds common to all berry fruits or whether specific combinations of chemicals in each type of berry have similar effects.
More Brain Friendly Foods
In addition to berries, other foods have been shown to support brain health.
- Fish containing the Omega-3 fatty acids Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
- Nuts and flax seeds which contain another Omega-3 fatty acid Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)
- Lentils, spinach, asparagus, kidney beans or other foods high in folic acid support cognitive function.
- Eggs are a good source of choline which supports memory and motor function.
Other lifestyle habits can also affect your brain. Learn other proactive measures you can take to support a healthy brain here.