A study has found the antioxidant-rich fruits could play an important role in preventing neurodegenerative disease.
A diet that’s rich in pomegranates could have a positive impact on brain health, according to research carried out by the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Studies carried out on mice, which had been bred to mimic the symptoms of age-related decline and Alzheimer’s disease, found supplementing with 4% pomegranate extract could reduce the amount of amyloid-beta proteins (Aβ) in the brain. It is these proteins which cause the plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s.
The study’s lead author Dr Nady Braidy said:
‘Something as simple as the introduction of pomegranate into the diet of these mice resulted in a range of important health impacts. We observed decreased oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, a reduction in the production of Aβ, and improved synaptic plasticity in the brains of the transgenic mice fed with pomegranate extract compared with the control group.’
Scientists believe pomegranates contain high levels of polyphenols, which are compounds with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants play a key role in reducing oxidative stress in the body, which can have a direct impact on the health of it, particularly in key areas such as the brain. You can usually tell if a fruit or vegetable is high in antioxidants because they’re usually a particularly vibrant colour. For example, blueberries, purple sprouting broccoli and red peppers are all rich in antioxidants.
It’s worth remembering that this study has only been carried out on mice, so further research involving human participants would need to take place before there was any definite proof of the benefits of pomegranates.
However, like many of the ‘superfood’ stories that come out in the news, if it means that people will think more closely about their diet, and make an effort to include a range of colourful fruit and vegetables in a bid to protect their brain health, then it certainly can’t do too much harm!
For more ideas on foods to help boost brain health, click here.