Anti-oxidants & brain function

All my friends know I just had a birthday. We are all aware that our mental functions slow down as we age. Our focus weakens and we lose memory. One reason is because oxidative stress. That’s why you hear so much about taking  ‘anti’-oxidants. These may help slow or even halt the aging  damage. 

Store-bought organic berries are a great source. Studies show that blueberries increase health and enhance cognitive function in aging.  So make sure you add fresh blueberries to your breakfast protein shake (UltraMeal from Metagenics).

Mental decline is caused by oxidative stress or free radical damage to the brain. According to Dr. James A. Joseph, an expert on cognitive decline, “Ample research indicates that age-related neuronal decrements are the result of oxidative stress.” He says  “Oxidative stress and inflammation are the evil twins of brain aging.”

In 1999, Dr. Joseph published a landmark study on the subject in the Journal of Neuroscience. His study suggested that blueberries may hold the key to reversing mental aging. Dr. Joseph took four groups of rats and fed them a normal diet. Three of the groups were given strawberry, spinach, or blueberry extracts. Over the course of 8 weeks, he tested the rats for coordination and mental functioning. The blueberry group performed best on the coordination tests. This group also showed improved neuron functioning. His research led him to nickname blueberries “brainberries.” 

I’m big on anything that lowers inflammation and blueberries also function as anti-inflammatory agent to protect brain integrity. 

Blueberries are best eaten with other foods that contain fats. At the top of the list are walnuts and avocado. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. That makes blueberries and walnuts a powerful combination. These foods promote youthful flexibility in brain cell membranes.

“Polyphenols in berries and fatty acids in walnuts fluidize the cell membrane,” says Dr. Joseph. 

Walnuts block disease-causing inflammation in our cells. Recent research links inflammation to cognitive decline, so reducing inflammation is important to promote better mental function.

People who eat breakfast are more mentally alert. They remember more, react quicker, and are more creative. This first meal delivers fuel to the brain after fasting all night. That’s way I recommend a the UltraMeal protein shake first thing in the morning. I know you are busy and often skip breakfast – a shake takes one minute to make.

As an afternoon snack, try a handful of blackberries and mix them with almonds. Enjoy green tea – it has lots of antioxidants. Enjoy strawberries and pecans. Try another UltraMeal shake  in the afternoon. Shakes with blueberries are rich in antioxidants.

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