Thursday, December 8, 2011

Berries Clean house in the Brain

     One way our brains stay in tip top shape is through a natural "housekeeping" mechanism. Like little vacuum cleaners, cells called microglia clear away harmful proteins and other debris that otherwise would gunk up our brains.

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  As we age, however, microglia don't work as well--so biochemical debris accumlates and leads to memory loss and other signs of mental decline.
     New Finding: researchers studying culture of animal brain cells discovered that extracts of blueberries, strawberries and acaiberries helped restore the normal housekeeping mechanism (called autophagy) in the brain by activating certain proteins involved in this function...and by inhibiting the action of a protein that interferes with microglia. Natural compounds called polyphenolics, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, may be responsible for berries beneficial effects.

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     It's yet one more good reason why a healthful diet includes berries and other polyphenolic-rich foods, such as deep red,orange, and purple foods, fruits and vegetables should be included into your everyday diet. 

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