If you've ever gone through a very stressful situation, you know it can take a toll on your memory. It's not unusual for the death of a loved one, a job loss, or some other event to leave us feeling like we've been robbed of some brain power. We know that stress can cause memory loss. So what can you do to stop it? A new study has some tasty answers.
A recent study found that supplementing the diets of stressed young rats with blueberries and strawberries improves both behavior and cognitive function.
To find out just how helpful these berries are for the brain, researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and University of Maryland Baltimore County gave rats a berry diet for two months. Then they subjected the rats' brains to irradiation, a model for accelerated aging. After the diet, the researchers split the rats into two groups, one they evaluated after 36 hours of radiation and the other after 30 days.
The results were outstanding. According to investigator Shibu Poulose, PhD, "After 30 days on the same berry diet, the rats experienced significant protection against radiation compared to the control. We saw significant benefits to diets with both of the berries, and speculate it is due to the phytonutrients present."
The researchers evaluated the neurochemical changes in the brain, particularly studying autophagy, which regulates the synthesis, degradation, and recycling of cellular components. It's especially important because it's the method by which the brain clears toxins. And, according to Poulose, "Most diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's have shown an increased amount of toxic protein. Berries seem to promote autophagy, the brain's natural housekeeping mechanism, thereby reducing the toxic accumulation."
Since the rat studies were so effective, the researchers are now conducting a study of people ages 60-75. The lead investigator, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale, says, "We have a lot of animal work that suggests these compounds will protect the aged brain and reverse some behavioral deficits. We are hoping it will translate to human studies as well."
Of course, you don't need to wait for the results of that study to come in before adding more berries to your diet. They're full of nutritional benefits, and if they do in fact help prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, that will just be one more of many great reasons to eat them!
If you find it hard to eat enough berries, I suggest you take Advanced Greens Formula, which has high concentrations of the phytonutrients found in these organic berries. I also recommend Advanced Memory Formula, which also helps preserve your memories during stressful times. Taking both formulas can supercharge your brain's ability to fight and heal from stress-related damage.
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"Making ice-cream more nutritious with meat left-overs." ScienceDaily, May 20, 2013.