Ok, now, after all that sweating over trying to make a decision on which technique to choose (see my previous blog), your poor brain is fried. So, now you are trying to decide what your next move (pun intended) should be to alleviate this annoying brain fog. (Darn information overload!)
Pausing between your racing thoughts, you remember your last consult with Dr. Sarah, “Are you eating protein, carbs, and fats together to balance your blood sugar? That will help with everything, you know. See, high blood sugar raises insulin, and insulin modulates cortisol, blah, blah, blah….. affect your hormones and weight.” Ok, you didn’t get it completely the first time with those scientific pathways, but you got the idea.
So, feeling pretty proud of yourself, you walk at a fast pace (holding your pulse, of course), to the refrigerator and smiling, pull out your organic, PLAIN (ughh), Stonyfield yogurt. You put a scoop of organic almond butter in it, and top it off with a fresh handful of organic berries. Then, you sit at your computer content. To top off your excitement, you find that Dr. LoBisco’s latest blog was just posted. Imagine your feeling of serendipity when you read the following:
Great news for helping the brain! As most of you are aware, a healthy diet and healthy mind go together. A recent article from Science Daily reports how the polyphenolics in berries can help make your brain new and shiny!
In the new research, Poulose and Joseph focused on another reason why nerve function declines with aging. It involves a reduction in the brain’s natural house-cleaning process. Cells called microglia are the housekeepers. In a process called autophagy, they remove and recycle biochemical debris that otherwise would interfere with brain function.
“But in aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up,” Poulose explained. “In addition, the microglia become over-activated and actually begin to damage healthy cells in the brain. Our research suggests that the polyphenolics in berries have a rescuing effect. They seem to restore the normal housekeeping function. These findings are the first to show these effects of berries.”
Poulose said the study provides further evidence to eat foods rich in polyphenolics. Although berries and walnuts are rich sources, many other fruits and vegetables contain these chemicals ― especially those with deep red, orange, or blue colors. Those colors come from pigments termed anthocyanins that are good antioxidants. He emphasized the importance of consuming the whole fruit, which contains the full range of hundreds of healthful chemicals. Frozen berries, which are available year round, also are excellent sources of polyphenolics, he added.
Another reason for the powerful effects of berries on the brain could be due to their ability to act as antioxidants, which in turn regulates inflammation and blood sugar. In fact, resveratrol, an antioxidant compound found in many berries, was shown to increase cerebral blood flow, according to the American Journal of Nutrition:
Results: Resveratrol administration resulted in dose-dependent increases in cerebral blood flow during task performance, as indexed by total concentrations of hemoglobin. There was also an increase in deoxyhemoglobin after both doses of resveratrol, which suggested enhanced oxygen extraction, that became apparent toward the end of the 45-min absorption phase and was sustained throughout task performance. Cognitive function was not affected. Resveratrol metabolites were present in plasma throughout the cognitive task period.
Conclusion: These results showed that single doses of orally administered resveratrol can modulate cerebral blood flow variables.
How does this relate to blood sugar? Well, according to Vitalchoice, “The Greek scientists also noted the well-established fact that higher intakes of food-borne antioxidants are linked to lower markers of inflammation. Furthermore, in the same article, it is reported that:
Recent studies suggested that oxidative stress – that is, excessive free radical production – appears to promote diabetes. Pancreatic cells, which produce insulin, are particularly susceptible to free radicals due to their low levels of antioxidant enzymes.
By damaging the mitochondria (energy centers) of pancreatic beta cells, oxidative stress can kill these critical cells, thereby blunting insulin secretion and allowing blood sugar levels to stay chronically high.
…..So, now you’re feeling pretty good about yourself, or at least you’re not hiding when you walk in front of a mirror. Satisfied with your snack, content with your “workout”, and ready to relax, you do your deep breathing exercise and looking forward to another helpful blog which further portrays just how much you already know!
Am J Clin Nutr (March 31, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28641
Vital Choice: http://newsletter.vitalchoice.com/e_article001687290.cfm?x=bgDM4hs,b1h0JlRD