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Research shows eating berries may boost brain health


The old adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" may have to be revised to mention a cup of berries.

Past studies have showed various types of berries may possess cancer-fighting effects. Now new research, presented yesterday at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, shows eating blueberries, strawberries and acai berries might be able to slow the brain's natural aging process.

In a study involving mouse brain tissue, researchers investigated why nerve function declines with aging. They concluded that cells called microglia, which remove and recycle toxic proteins from the nervous system, begin to malfunction as the body ages and that compounds in berries may reverse this process. U.S. Department of Agriculture visiting researcher Shibu Poulose, PhD, who presented the report, explained the findings in a release:

In aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up. 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.

Scientists emphasized the importance of consuming whole fruits and said frozen berries are an equally beneficial substitute for fresh produce.

Previously: Stanford nutrition experts discuss top cancer-preventing foods
Photo by Rhett Maxwell

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