Berries and their neuroprotective action
Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, are not just yummy but also very healthy fruits because they are a source of anthocyans, a type of flavonoids that give the red or violet color but have also a neuroprotective effect. It seems in particular that people who regularly eat berries are 40% less likely to develop Parkinson disease and that this protective effect is higher in men than in women.
This is the result of a study performed by a team of the University of Harvard, Boston, Usa, and proposed at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting (Honolulu, Hawaii) in 2011. The research had been carried out for 2 decades and had observed the habits of more than 130 000 persons. The results show clearly the association between berries and Parkinson and, in particular, the protective effect of the berries. Other studies are needed in order to explain the process, however the hypothesis is that the anthocyans are able to cross the blood brain barrier, that protects the cerebral tissue, and can in this way alleviate the oxidative stress and counteract the inflammations. The researchers are still working also to try to understand why the berries seem to have a more beneficial effect on men than women. Although a lot of points still remain to be explained a good choice, according to Dr. Xian Gao, head of the team, is to integrate in our diet 2-3 cups of berries per week. Then, anthocyans are not just in berries, you can find these powerful substances in tea, apples and oranges.