If you’ve done your research on how to continue aging well through the years, then you know by now about the hidden powers of antioxidants in your anti-aging diet. Antioxidants have the ability to prevent the oxidation of cells in your body. The process of oxidation leads to the development of free radicals, which damage and destroy healthy cells by setting off a chain reaction.
In a nutshell, antioxidants minimize the cell damage that naturally occurs in your body as you age and stops it from progressing; by adding more antioxidants to your anti-aging diet, you are, in effect, improving your chances for aging well.
Antioxidants are touted for their ability to maintain cognitive function because of their impact on reducing free radical damage in the brain. New research by the University of South Florida has provided even more evidence of this powerful connection between antioxidants and mental health.
Scientists developed a supplement formula containing antioxidant-rich extracts from blueberries and green tea, along with amino acids and vitamin D3. Participants, all of whom had healthy cognitive function, were divided into two groups; one received the antioxidant supplement and the other received a placebo.
The whole group participated in a series of memory tests before and at the end of the two-month study, and the findings were fascinating. The antioxidant group showed improvements in the speed of cognitive processing, compared against the placebo group. The results are significant, because improved processing speed decreases the likelihood of losing more complex cognitive functions, like memory and verbal skills, later on.
Why Blueberries and Green Tea?
Both blueberries and green tea contain naturally occurring polyphenols, making them two of the best sources of antioxidants in your anti-aging diet. Polyphenols have been shown to moderate the effects of the inflammation and oxidative stress that can lead to age-related cognitive decline, and even the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
There is also evidence that links polyphenols to the prevention of diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, and various cancers. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that an anti-aging diet high in polyphenols (more than 650 mg per day) could reduce the risk of mortality for older adults by as much as 30%.
If blueberries or green tea don’t quite do it for you, there are plenty of other foods that are rich in polyphenol antioxidants, such as black chokeberries, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, cloves, dried peppermint, capers, black olives, and hazelnuts, to name just a few.
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Nauert, R., “Supplement May Slow Cognitive Decline in Older Adults,” PsychCentral web site, February 7, 2014; http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/02/07/supplement-may-slow-cognitive-decline-in-older-adults/65551.html.
Pérez-Jiménez, J. et al., “Identification of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols: an application of the Phenol-Explorer database,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010; doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.221.
“Study associates high polyphenols intake with 30% reduction in mortality in older adults,” News Medical web site, October 10, 2013; http://www.news-medical.net/news/20131010/Study-associates-high-polyphenols-intake-with-3025-reduction-in-mortality-in-older-adults.aspx.