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Foods that may fight Alzheimer's

April 4, 2014

Alzheimer's affects a large portion of the senior population, with the Alzheimer's Association reporting that more than 5 million Americans currently have the disease. While there currently exists no treatment for Alzheimer's, there are several ways that seniors may be able to prevent the disease.

Proper diet and exercise play a key role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for seniors, but researchers have recently discovered that certain foods may be crucial to preventing memory loss in seniors. Scientists have found in previous studies that fish and fish oil supplements may contain nutrients essential to improving memory care, but researchers have now discovered that fruits may be just as beneficial for seniors.

Strawberries could prevent memory loss
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies recently discovered a link between memory and a compound frequently found in strawberries. The study was published in the journal Aging Cell, and found that fisetin could help improve memories in people with Alzheimer's. Scientists provided fisetin-rich water to mice with Alzheimer's, then examined how the creatures reacted. They discovered that over the course of nine months, mice that were given fisetin performed better than those that didn't receive it. The mice that were given this nutrient were able to complete water mazes almost to the same capacity as those that did not have Alzheimer's.

Pamela Maher, a scientist at Salk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory and lead researcher of the study, explained that the nutrient may be crucial for further research concerning the disease. 

"We had already shown that in normal animals, fisetin can improve memory," Maher explained in a press release. "What we showed here is that it also can have an effect on animals prone to Alzheimer's."

Blueberries may help improve brainpower
Eating blueberries could also help improve seniors' cognitive abilities, as the fruit has been proven to have a similar effect on memory. Researchers at Tufts University discovered that the small berries could not only reduce memory loss in seniors, but also prevent loss of coordination. In a university press release, scientists explained that rats that ate blueberries experienced improved memory capabilities and better balance control, as opposed to those that did not eat the berries or consumed a different set of foods. 

Researchers attributed the bonus health effects to the high amount of antioxidants prevalent in the fruit. James Joseph, the lead researcher and scientist at the Neuroscience Laboratory at Tufts, explained that blueberries should be a staple part of seniors' diets.