Monday, May 5, 2008

Diet Of Walnuts, Blueberries Improve Cognition; May Help Maintain Brain Function

Diet Of Walnuts, Blueberries Improve Cognition; May Help Maintain Brain Function: "ScienceDaily
Diets containing two percent, six percent, or nine percent walnuts, when given to old rats, were found to reverse several parameters of brain aging, as well as age-related motor and cognitive deficits...old rats maintained for two months on diets containing two percent high antioxidant strawberry or blueberry extracts exhibited reversals of age-related deficits in the way that neurons function and in motor and cognitive behavior...A six percent diet is equivalent to a person eating 1 ounce of walnuts each day..."this information, coupled with our previous studies, shows that the addition of walnuts, berries, and grape juice to the diet may increase 'health span' in aging and provide a 'longevity dividend' or economic benefit for slowing the aging process by reducing the incidence and delaying the onset of debilitating degenerative disease."..."The beneficial effects of walnuts also may be the direct result of enhancements of signals which mediate such important functions as neuronal communication and the growth of new neurons,"...surprisingly, the compounds in Alaska blueberries discovered in their study are neither antioxidants nor polyphenols, yet rather serve as specific inhibitors...Exposure of neuronal cells to TNFa rapidly stimulates a cascade of reactions, which ultimately leads to the death of neuronal cells. The application of Alaska blueberry extracts to neuronal cells effectively prevented the degeneration of neuronal cells exposed to TNFa...using a small amount of blueberry extract, two percent, to supplement a standard rat diet, are the first to show that a dietary intervention, specifically blueberries, can not only protect against the loss of dendritic branching and dendritic spines (e.g., synapses) seen in aged animals, but can result in neuroplastic enhancement of brain circuitry such that it looks like a much younger brain...A two percent blueberry extract is equivalent to a human having about half a cup of blueberries added to their daily diet...Previous research showed that blueberry-enriched diets fed to aging rats reversed age-related declines in cognitive function. The current data show that a diet supplemented with blueberry extract should be able to protect against the loss of dendritic branching and dendritic spines-in other words, Joseph says, the blueberry supplement diet "would enhance the neuronal circuitry back to the status associated with a younger brain."..."

James A. Joseph,
PhD, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston, mentions in the latest Psychology Today article (2008.06) on this topic that walnuts enhances the effects of blueberries noticeably. The polyphenols in blueberries (or strawberries, blackberries etc) react "synergistically" with the fatty acids in walnuts.

Again, what we have here are compounds found in fruits, nuts (and also vegetables and herbs) that change the expression of various genes for the benefit of our health and maybe our longevity.


Getting Forgetful? Then Blueberries May Hold The Key: ScienceDaily
"The enhancement of both short-term and long-term memory is controlled at the molecular level in neurons. The research team was able to show that the ability of flavonoids to induce memory improvements are mediated by the activation of signalling proteins via a specific pathway in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls learning and memory."

Blueberry Compound Shows Promise Of Lowering Cholesterol As Effectively As Drug ScienceDaily - 2008.08.31
Blueberries Contain Chemical That May Help Prevent Colon Cancer
ScienceDaily - 2007.03.26

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