Summer fruits are back on Australian tables this summer as we gear up to hit the festive season. We’ve known for years that cherries and other stone fruits supply us with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. But here’s another reason to make sure they’re on the shopping list: they’re good for the brain.
Flavonoids are nutrients that contain over 6,000 individual elements. They protect plants from microbe and insect damage, which may explain some of their observed health benefits in humans. The major sources of flavonoids in western diets are black tea, oranges, green tea and bananas.
Fruits containing high antioxidants include; blueberries, red beans, cranberries, and blackberries and can reduce inflammation and improve connections in the brain, especially in the areas associated with learning and memory. Studies have found that consuming a large serve of anthocyanin-rich fruits may boost learning ability, motor skills and memory.
Flavonoids may also disrupt the aggregation of amyloid in the brain and thereby prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.
Research suggests that people who consume berries 2 to 3 times a week have better brain function and are less likely to develop dementia than others their own age. Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older adults aged over 65 years and is the second leading cause of death in this age group.
Animal studies show impressive results so far for its potential to improve health. Obese rats fed with the plum juice showed that their high blood pressure, fatty livers, poor heart function and arthritis returned to normal in just eight weeks.
Improving your diet with a bowl of cherries unfortunately won’t counteract other lifestyle factors implicated in cognitive decline. Quitting smoking, cutting down on saturated fat and being physically active are also crucial for keeping ageing brains healthy.
We hope to see the tables this year doused in blue, purple and red.