Fruits and Vegetables Can Slow Mental Decline
Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables may help
reduce the mental decline that accompanies age, researchers say.
Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston studied the
benefits of eating fresh produce on rats.
Rats fed strawberries and spinach had better memories
and slower declines in nerve cells functions needed in movement than rats fed standard
diets, researchers say.
and spinach are rich in antioxidants, molecules that protect cells from damage. This kind
of damage, called oxidative stress, is caused by molecules called free radicals and is
believed to be linked to many age-related diseases.
"The brain may be particularly vulnerable to the
damaging effects of free radicals because it is relatively deficient in antioxidants to
begin with," Dr. James Joseph said in a prepared statement. Researchers plan to test
whether other antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries offer protective benefits against
age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.
This study appears in the October
issue of Journal of Neuroscience.