It’s rare for a food to taste great and also be nutritious, but with berries people can actually get the best of both worlds. A new study on rats presented at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting suggests that aside from all the health benefits from berries that we already know about, berries clear the brain from the accumulation of toxic proteins.
Rats in the study that consumed berries for two months had a stronger immunity against radiation than rats that did not consume berries. Radiation was induced on the rats to accelerate their aging, and those that consumed blueberries and strawberries showed signs of improved behavior and greater cognitive function.
“After 30 days on the same berry diet, the rats experienced significant protection against radiation compared to the control,” said investigator Shibu Poulose, PhD. “We saw significant benefits to diets with both of the berries, and speculate it is due to the phytonutrients present”.
Phytonutrients are plant chemicals found in berries that may be responsible for the brains increased ability to clear out the accumulation of toxic proteins. The greater benefit of this research will be apparent if the findings also apply to humans. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and other diseases are caused by the accumulation of these toxic proteins. A study is already being conducted on humans between the ages of 60 and 75 to see if berries have the same effect.
Although these findings are only preliminary, a previous study conducted at Harvard demonstrated that the regular consumption of berries could delay the cognitive decline in older people; reinforcing the findings at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting.
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