Archive for July, 2017

Orange juice ‘improves brain function’

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

A small study, which saw 37 adults with an average age of 67 consume 500ml (just under a pint) of orange juice daily for eight weeks, found they had an 8% overall improvement in cognitive function compared with a group who consumed a control drink.

At the beginning and end of the eight weeks their memory, reaction time and verbal fluency was measured by carrying out eight tests.

One of the tests of verbal memory required learning a list of words to be recalled immediately, and again after a 30-minute delay.

Researchers said an 8 per cent improvement equates to remembering one more word from a shopping list of 15 items. Small improvements such as this over an eight-week period could translate into substantial improvements over the lifespan.

While the researchers are not recommending that people drink 500ml of orange juice every day, due to its high sugar content, they said their findings show that the constituents of orange juice could play an important role in providing brain-boosting nutrients as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Co-author Dr Daniel Lamport, of the University of Reading’s School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, said orange juice is a major source of a group of naturally occurring plant phytochemicals known as flavonoids, and is particularly rich in a subclass of flavonoids, known as flavanones.

Recent studies have shown that flavonoids may improve memory through the activation of signalling pathways in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is associated with learning and memory.

He said with a rapidly ageing population and estimations that the number of persons aged 60 or over could triple by 2100, it is “imperative” that simple, cost-effective ways to improve cognitive function in old age are explored.

“Small, easily administered changes to the daily diet, such as eating more flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables, have the potential to substantially benefit brain health,” he said.

“We know that people find it difficult to sustain big changes to their diet but simple alterations are much easier to maintain permanently.

“More research on the positive effects of flavonoids on cognition is still needed. However, this is an important discovery which strengthens the growing body of evidence that flavonoid-rich foodstuffs could play a big role in tackling cognition decline in old age.”

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

Starting Your Day With Orange Juice May Be Really Good For You, According To Science

Monday, July 10th, 2017

For better brain function, consider starting your day with a nice big glass of orange juice, a new study says. Researchers from the University of Reading say that by drinking just over two glasses of orange juice every day, you’ll show slight improvements in brain function in around two months.

The small study involved just 37 healthy older adults with an average age of 67, who were split into two groups: an OJ group that drank half a liter of juice every day for eight weeks and a control group that drank the same amount of a drink similar in taste and calories.

The participants were given a number of tests both at the start and end of the study, giving them a composite cognition score, based on things like memory, verbal fluency and reaction time.

Eight weeks later, the OJ group saw an 8 percent improvement in their overall cognition, when compared with the control group.

Though the results are modest, University of Reading researchers say that if the improvements continued, OJ drinkers could potentially reap major benefits over a longer period. “Small, easily administered changes to the daily diet, such as eating more flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables, have the potential to substantially benefit brain health. We know that people find it difficult to sustain big changes to their diet but simple alterations are much easier to maintain permanently,” the study’s co-author Daniel Lamport said in a release.

The recommendations are interesting as many nutritionists recommend eating whole fruit rather than juices when possible, since juices are often loaded with added sugars and calories, but without the fiber to reduce the sugar spikes.

The University of Reading researchers point to the flavonoids in OJ as the cause of improved cognition. Flavonoids are compounds that have antioxidant properties and are found abundantly in foods like blueberries, green tea and chocolate. Other studies have backed up the claims of flavonoids’ brain-boosting power. A 2012 study found that the flavonoids in blueberries and strawberries could help stave off cognitive aging by more than two years in older people. Another eight-week study found that subjects who drank flavonoid-rich cocoa beverages performed better on memory and cognition tests.

Source: Yagana Shah, Huffington Post