One of the worst aspects of aging for many people is the possibility of dementia, memory loss or even alzheimers ruining our quality of life in our later years.
But loss of mental sharpness and memory is not inevitable with age and the answer may lie – at least partially – in what we eat.
In recent years many scientific studies have focused on the role played by diet in protecting our brain cells from oxidative stress.
Apple juice and senior mice
One study in 2006 undertaken at the University of Massachusetts investigated the role of apple juice in protecting older mice from mental decline.
The research showed that the group of senior mice given apple juice were fully protected from oxidative stress.
Not only that but the “seniors” who consumed the human equivalent of 2-3 cups of apple juice – around 2-4 apples per day – had significantly higher levels of “mental acuity”.
You may wonder how the researchers tested for mental acuity in a mouse – but obviously they had their methods.
Previous research at the University showed that it was the antioxidant levels rather than the sugar content of the fruit that was responsible for the increased sharpness.
Dr Thomas Shea at Massachusetts University said the new study suggested that eating apples or drinking apple juice protects the brain from the effects of oxidative stress: there is something in apples and apple juice that protects brain cells in normal aging.”
Juices protect against Alzheimers
Another study published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2006 showed that drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices could reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease by as much as 76 percent.
The beneficial effects of juicing were observed in a 10 year study conducted by Vanderbilt University in Nashville using 1,800 Seattle seniors – human beings this time rather than mice!
The research study showed that those seniors who drank fresh fruit or vegetable juice three or more times per week were 76% less likely to develop Alzheimers than those who only drank the juice once a week.
As study leader Qi Dai concluded: “Fruit and vegetable juices may play an important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease”
Polyphenols are the key
Polyphenols appear to be the source of the protection from Alzheimers.
Polyphenols are organic antioxidants found in high concentrations in the skins of freshly juiced fruit and vegetables – they give some juices their strong color.
Juicing whole fruit and vegetables protects these powerful antioxidants and delivers them quickly to your bloodstream.
Because nearly all polyphenols are found in the skins of fruits and vegetables – only juices from whole fresh fruits or vegetables have powerful anti Alzheimers properties, according to Dai.
Commercial sugar laden juices with low juice content – definitely won’t cut it. If you can juice your own fruit and vegetables that’s definitely the best way to go – if not – buy a freshly pressed juice with no added ingredients.
Juicing has wider benefits
The beneficial effects of freshly juiced drinks extend far beyond protection from alzheimer’s – huge though that is. Juicing is a important part of anti aging nutrition as well.
Some of the most powerful anti aging antioxidants are present in fresh, highly colored fruit and vegetables. Juicing gets them into your system immediately and in their raw state – with no loss of nutrients from cooking or oxidation.
Not only that but fresh juices taste fantastic and how often can you say that about something that’s good for you?