As our body’s control centre, the brain deserves alot of TLC to keep it in tip-top functioning condition. The latest research has uncovered that New Zealand blackcurrants could help keep us mentally young and agile as well as potentially help those with brain disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or depression.
Researcher’s from the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research collaborated with scientists from Northumbria University in the U.K and found that compounds within the New Zealand blackcurrants increased mental performance, mood, attention span and accuracy. These findings could assist with the management of mental decline that’s linked to ageing as well as helping those with various brain disorders.
Juice from a specific New Zealand blackcurrant cultivar, named “Blackadder” reduces the activity of the monoamine oxidases enzymes, which are the enzymes responsible for the brain’s serotonin and dopamine concentrations. These neurotransmitter chemicals affect mood and cognition and researchers are focussing on them specifically to find treatments for the neurodegenerative symptoms of Parkinson’s and mood disorders.
Led by Dr. Arjan Scheepens, this was the first study that looked into the effects of berry consumption on healthy, young adults’ cognitive performance. He states that it’s important to “understand what, and how, foods affect mental performance” which can lead to the food industry’s development of new foods designed for situations or populations where mental decline or performance is an important factor; such as in an ageing population or for those suffering from stress and anxiety or mental fatigue.
Bring on the berries!