It’s no secret that we would all like to preserve our cognitive abilities, especially as we age. Being able to reason, to remember instructions and names, and to perform tasks in an intelligent sequence are all invaluable skills that greatly enhance the quality of our lives as we get older. But for many, these skills seem to slowly fade away. Changes happen in the brain — signals aren’t passed from
one neuron to the next and cells begin to die.
There are a number of different ways to try to protect your brain as you grow older, but undoubtedly one of the best is to make sure you eat lots of “brain foods” every week. These are foods that literally make you smarter.
How can a food exert such a complex and beneficial effect in your brain? Mostly due to the presence of some pretty powerful antioxidants.
Take, for instance, the polyphenols found in berry fruits. In particular, berries contain flavonoids that have been associated with mental health benefits, including improvement in cognition and neuronal function with aging. As it turns out, one of the best sources of polyphenols that boost brain function is Concord grape juice. This delicious juice contains two very important polyphenols: anthocyanins and flavanols.
In a study just completed, researchers investigated the results when older adults with cognitive impairment consumed Concord grape juice. The trial involved two groups: one drank grape juice, while the other acted as placebo. Before and after the 16-week trial period, both groups were administered assessments of memory function and brain activation.
The researchers found that participants who consumed grape juice showed reduced semantic interference on memory tasks. Your semantic memory holds all the general knowledge you have about the world. For example, memories of laws and organizational rules are stored in your semantic memory, as are basic concepts such as compassion and humor. Age-related declines in brain function can interfere with the way your semantic memory works.
The researchers also observed greater activation in the right hemisphere of the brain (the part of your brain that is more visual, intuitive and random in the way it processes information). The researchers concluded that these findings provide further evidence that Concord grape juice can enhance neurocognitive function in older adults with mild memory decline.
Try drinking a glass of grape juice with your breakfast meal. You may find that it helps you to think and remember more clearly. For another health benefit of grape juice, read the article, A Delicious Juice That Boosts Your Immunity.
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