Monday, August 23, 2010

Berries prevent age-related memory loss - new research

New research has discovered that in addition to health effects previously discovered, polyphenolics in berries and other whole foods actually perform "housekeeping" chores in the brain, sweeping away "biochemical debris" that causes age-related memory loss and mental decline.

The research, presented by Shibu Poulose and James Joseph of the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston, found that in younger people cells called microglia engage in a process called autophagy, which involves removing biochemical debris that would interfere with brain function. As we age, microglia slowly become less effective, the debris builds up and people experience age-related mental decline, including memory loss. The research found that the polyphenolics sustain the effectiveness of microglia, enabling them to continue protecting the brain well into old age.

A wide range of foods contain these polyphenolics, including berries and other fruits, especially those with dark red, orange or blue colors, and also nuts, including walnuts.

Eat these foods according to Spartan Diet principles -- eat them as fresh, raw and organic as possible.

(Photo shows Spartan Muesli with Spartan Cashew Milk topped with blueberries and acai.)