Berries have long had the reputation of being an excellent source of antioxidants, but new research is showing that berries also benefit what is being called a “housekeeper” mechanism in the brain. This holds the potential to keep brains healthier longer.
Shibu Poulose, Ph.D. and James Joseph, Ph.D. studied berries and discovered that polyphenols (antioxidants) serve a purpose unique to the brain. Antioxidants in the berries restore the “housekeeper” cells (microglia) in the brain. “But in aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up,” Poulose explained. “In addition, the microglia become over-activated and actually begin to damage healthy cells in the brain. Our research suggests that the polyphenolics in berries have a rescuing effect. They seem to restore the normal housekeeping function. These findings are the first to show these effects of berries.” Although berries are one of the better sources for antioxidants many vegetables and some nuts are also excellent sources as well.