Berries on the brain: why they's actually good for your brain health

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 01:36:33 AM. Experts advise including a variety of colorful berries in your diet on a regular basis.
Americans are eating more berries, and that’s a good idea. Besides being packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, berries are rich in flavonoids like anthocyanins and flavanols. “Berries are colorful because of bioactive compounds like these,” says Navindra P. Seeram, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. “They protect the berry, and those beneficial effects are imparted when we eat berries.” Both oxidative stress and inflammatory mediators in the blood can cause damage to brain cells. Berries contain flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that counteract, reduce, and repair this damage. The blood-brain barrier protects the brain from harmful circulating agents in our bodies, but “compounds like anthocyanins can cross the blood-brain barrier,” says Seeram. “So they bring their powerful properties right to the site of action.” According to Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D., a USDA research psychologist, we don’t fully understand yet why berries are so good for the brain, but it is most likely due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of these compounds. RELATED 12 superfoods that may give your health a jolt Most of the evidence for berries and brain health comes from animal studies, but that is changing says Shukitt-Hale. “In the last five to six years we’ve started studies in humans, and the data coming in from those studies are very...Read more
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