Berries are known for being nutritious, delicious, and low in calories and carbohydrates, but they are also important for protecting brain function as we age. Dr. Gary Arendash, Research Professor at Florida Alzheimer’s Research Center and University of South Florida appeared in the Detroit area presenting the latest in cutting edge research on the aging brain and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr. Arendash presented his seminar: “Protecting the Aging Brain: Focus on Nutrition and Mind/Body Health” in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Southfield. Dr. Arendash stated that everyone gets Age-Related Memory Impairment starting between age 40 to 50 as a normal part of aging, but two-thirds of older adults will develop Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr. Arendash says that we can protect ourselves with diet and exercise. Research shows that Alzheimer’s disease is largely the result of oxidative damage caused by free radicals. To get an idea of what oxidation is, look at a rusty car, that is oxidative damage. According to Dr. Arendash: “there are 10,000 oxidative hits to each of our DNA daily. This damage is cumulative.”
Dr. Arendash says that we can protect ourselves from oxidative damage by eating a diet that is low in added sugars, low fat, and high in anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Berries are anti-oxidant powerhouses. Studies show that the flavanoids in berries protect against both Alzheimer’s Disease and normal, Age-Related Memory Impairment, and even improve brain function in individuals with already impaired brain function. So eat berries daily to protect brain function. For more on berries and the aging brain please click here.
Metro Detroit area Whole Foods Market stores carry both fresh and frozen organic berries. Dr. Arendash recommends frozen berries because they are just as nutritious as fresh but are more affordable.
Mixed Berry Fruit Cocktail:
1 pint blueberries
1 pint Strawberries
1 pint raspberries (or blackberries, or black raspberries)
1/3 C water
1/4 C agave nectar or pure maple syrup
2 Tbs lemon juice
Take ¼ of each type of berry and wash. Hull and slice the washed portion of strawberries. Place in pan with water, agave nectar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat for ten minutes. Place in blender and puree. Strain into bowl and chill for 20 minutes.
Wash, dry, hull, and slice remaining strawberries. Wash and dry remaining blueberries and raspberries.
Place berries in bowl with berry puree, mix well, and chill 1 hour. Serves 4.