Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

Berries Help to Unclog Your Brain

New research shows that blueberries, strawberries and acai berries can promote brain health.   They appear to work by restoring overactive microglia cells that are responsible for removing biochemicals that would otherwise interfere with brain function.

The researchers suggest eating whole fruits to get the maximum effect.  Interested to hear from readers that eat berries for brain health. What berries do you eat and why?

18 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Mark Clare - August 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Categories: Cognitive Decline, Diet, Memory and Learning   Tags:

DASH Diet + Aerobic Exercise = 30% Improvement in Brain Function

According to a news release by the American Heart Association, a diet developed to improve blood pressure combined with aerobic exercise over a four month period appears to improve the mental functioning of older overweight adults.   Researchers claim mental functioning improved by 30%. Quoting the news release:

“Researchers assessed mental functioning with a battery of neuropsychological tests, including Executive Function-Memory-Learning and Psychomotor Speed. These tests measure cognitive skills involving manipulation of ideas and concepts and planning ahead. The tests were given before and after the four-month treatment program.”

The diet plan is called DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) and involves:

  1. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts and foods rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  2. Cutting back on red meats high total-fat foods and sweets

If you want to give it a try there are specific guidelines, recommendations and even food plans on The Dash Diet Plan Eating site.

The aerobic exercises were basic but supervised and took place for 30 minutes three times per week.

It is important to note that you have to do both the diet and exercise to get the improvement in mental functioning. Control groups that did one or the other, or nothing showed no improvement in mental functioning.  These type of combination effects (doing two or more interventions to get a boost in cognitive performance) are common and will be frequently covered on the Next Brain Blog.

Source:  Exercise and Diet Image

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mark Clare - March 10, 2010 at 1:22 am

Categories: Cognitive Decline, Diet, Executive Function, Lifestyle, Memory and Learning, Older Adult, Other, Problem Solving   Tags: ,

Food Combinations Sharpen Mental Focus

One technique for improving your brain and mind is tuning your diet.   There have been many studies making claims about how certain nutrients impact cognitive performance.  Dietary techniques – eating specific foods, food combinations, avoiding foods and the use of supplements – will be a frequent topic on the Next Brain blog.

For example, check-out this AARP-endorsed 3-minute video outlining tips for eating in a brain smart way.  Here is the basic claim:

“Want to be more mentally alert? The right fruit and vegetable combinations can help you think more clearly —especially if those combos are raw, with their nutrients intact, says AARP health and fitness ambassador Martina Navratilova in this video.”

I like this video because it offers simple but clinically supported ideas for making simple substitutions in your diet.  For example, snacking on pumpkin seeds and using dark leafy vegetables in your salad.   Making significant dietary changes is hard. We have a much better chance with simple additions or substitutions.

8 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Mark Clare - February 23, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Categories: Diet, Mental Focus   Tags:

Two Cups of Blueberry Juice Daily Significantly Improves Memory

What we eat and drink as well as the medications and supplements we take can strong determine the effectiveness of our cognitive functions and how long we have a health brain.   Expect to see many posts on ingestibles and how they can be used to develop YourNextBrain! in this blog.

Sometimes we will debunk findings.  For example the post, Herb Fails to Prove Out as Cognitive Enhancer, reviews evidence that Ginko Biloba the popular memory supplement does not work. Other times we will present brand new but preliminary positive findings. For example, the recent news release from the American Chemical Society that presents First Ever Evidence that Blueberry Juice Improves Memory in Older Adults. This is an exciting finding.


To quote:

“In the study, one group of volunteers in their 70s with early memory decline drank the equivalent of 2-2 l/2 cups of a commercially available blueberry juice every day for two months. A control group drank a beverage without blueberry juice. The blueberry juice group showed significant improvement on learning and memory tests, the scientists say. “These preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration,” said the report.”

A preliminary result but it does encourage some sensible personal experimentation. It would not be too hard to swap out a daily drink such as orange juice or a bottled water with blueberry juice. Simple before/after memory tests can be used to see if you are making any headway.

I am very interested to hear from readers with ideas or examples of personal experiments with blueberries as memory enhancers.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mark Clare - January 29, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Categories: Diet, Memory and Learning, Older Adult   Tags: