Recent studies show that eating berries may help to prevent age-related memory loss and keep memory sharp during old age. The researchers claim there is strong evidence that berries can improve the functioning of the brain and prevent memory loss. Researcher Marshall Miller, of the USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and colleagues in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, says that the antioxidant properties of berries are well known and now the present study shows that dietary supplementation of berries can improve the functioning of brain and prevent age-related memory disorders.
Animal studies and laboratory studies points to the beneficial effects of berries on the signaling pathways involved in the inflammation and cell death, says researchers. These effects may thus prevent the age-related brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
In this review, the researchers analyzed the different studies that dealt with the effects of berries on the different signaling pathways of the brain or their impact on the internal communication and behavior. The beneficial effects were noted in different types of berries including blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and strawberries. The antioxidants present in the berries protect the brain cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are normally produced in the body by the process of oxidation and this increase with age. Moreover, berries modify the communication between the different neurons in such a way that it prevents inflammation. These changes improve the movement control and function. Earlier studies have shown that berries improve the movement control in animals.
Few other studies show that dietary supplementation of berries lowers inflammation in human beings. They are also shown to improve the brain function in elderly people who have mild mental impairments. More studies are required to see whether these effects are due to present of individual components present in berries or the unique combinations of chemicals in each of them.