Keep your head with fruit and veg!

In addition to vitamins and minerals, many fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols, which protect the brain’s neurons. So let’s have a closer look as these anti-ageing foods…

Keeping your head’s neurons healthy and happy

In general, regularly eating fruit and veg has a positive effect on the overall ageing of your body. All the nutrients you get from your fruit and veg help protect you against many illnesses (cardiovascular problems, cancers…), and these benefits are applicable to all your organs, including your brain.

For example, eating vegetables can help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s, due to the many anti-oxidants found in fruit and veg – whether it be vitamins, minerals or the famous polyphenols. By limiting attack to the brain’s neurons by free radicals, vegetables help reduce the risks of contracting this disorder.

During the Vichy conference on polyphenols and health, the experts underlined other benefits of polyphenols found in fruit and veg. They could also play a positive role against anxiety disorders, and German scientists have underlined the anxiolytic role of certain polyphenols. According to them, these calming properties could explain the sedative powers of some plants used in plant therapy. Other work, notably that of Nicole Cotelle from Lille, has shown that polyphenols could also protect the brain’s neurons from the damage resulting from strokes.

Blackcurrants for head health

The best part of eating fruit and veg is that they help preserve intellectual capacity, even as time goes by. On this subject, the work done by Prof Jim Joseph, of the Tufts University of Boston, is impressive. This researcher worked on elderly rats to test their cognitive capacities after feeding them blackcurrant juice, spinach or strawberries.  The rats then had to find their way through an immerged labyrinth, and the results were conclusive.

Adding fruit and veg to the rats’ diets produced better results and seemed to preserve their mental capacities, with the best results coming from those rats fed with blackcurrant juice. So much so, that that Dr Joseph’s team themselves decided to drink a glass of this precious nectar every morning!

Seeing red… fruit of course!

In addition to blackcurrants, what else can be eaten to help protect the brain? According to Dr Joseph, the virtues of both grape and cranberry juice should be highlighted. And other than increased polyphenol intake, how can one help preserve their mental capacities?

For French research director Augustin Scalbert, there’s only one rule to remember: “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain”. So… more fruit and veg and less saturated fat. With a balanced and varied diet, you’ll keep your head well on your shoulders for years to come!

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