According to the National Institute on Aging, “Forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. As people get older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. As a result, some people may notice that it takes longer to learn new things, they don't remember information as well as they did, or they lose things like their glasses."
New studies, however, suggest that certain fruits, like grapes and blueberries when eaten together, can have a significant effect on brain power. Although previous research already showed that supplementing your diet with polyphenol-rich fruits and vegetables such as grapes and acai berries could minimize age-related physical decline, a new study published last month from researchers in Bordeaux and Quebec has expanded upon this theory.
The researchers carried out numerous randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that evaluated memory, spatial recognition, and learning on four groups of both young and old mice in which half of the mice received a diet rich in polyphenol extracts from grapes and blueberries, while the other half were given a regular diet. The scientists found that the positive effects of a polyphenol-rich extract from grapes were significantly enhanced when paired with a polyphenol-rich extract from blueberries, producing a stronger effect than either extract on its own.
The study found that older mice fed the polyphenol-rich diet spent much more time looking at objects they had never seen before while ignoring those they had. They could also remember where the exit was in their swimming pool even though the start point was changed during each swim session, and they generally lived a longer sharper life. Surprisingly, 52% of the mice fed the normal diet died before any of the mice from the control-diet group.
Following the tests, the mice had much higher levels of polyphenols in their blood plasma and brain, which suggests that daily supplements of blueberry and grape extract together enhanced memory and brain function, as well as neurogenesis – the development and regeneration of new brain cells – specifically in the hippocampus, as well as neuroplasticity, an indicator of age-related neuro-decline.
“Although the exact mechanism is difficult to pinpoint, our data provides evidence of both direct and indirect effects on the brain. The well-being of aged people is closely linked to good memory performance and proper brain functioning, which very often deteriorate during aging,” the researchers noted. “Together, the data obtained in this study are in line with the hypothesis that optimized preventive nutrition may promote the maintenance of a satisfactory cognitive state in elderly subjects and may thus prevent or delay dementia, and contribute to healthy aging.”
So, it appears we should all add a bowl of grapes and blueberries to our diet. If nothing else, it can’t hurt.