A study published in the Journal Nutrition, found eating a diet rich in plants containing the chemical Luteolin, reduces age-related inflammation in the brain, and memory deficits associated with aging. Luteolin is found in celery, green pepper, thyme, perilla, chamomile tea, carrots, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary and oregano.
“We found previously that during normal aging, microglial cells become dysregulated and begin producing excessive levels of inflammatory cytokines. We think this contributes to cognitive aging and is a predisposing factor for the development of neurodegenerative diseases,” said University of Illinois animal sciences professor Rodney Johnson. (Source: Consumeraffairs.com)
In another research study conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Nevada and the University of California found the subjects in their study who walked between six and nine miles a week were 50 percent less likely to suffer from future memory problems. 1,479 adults aged 65 and older participated in the study which included answering questions about their frequency of walking. Based on their answers, 924 met the criteria established for having an MRI brain scan.
A first MRI was conducted during a two-year period, and a second was done about six years later with 516 of the originally screen subjects. Of those 516, 299 met the criteria of being 78 years of age, and having normal cognitive function. This group was checked upon regularly by the researchers, and was assessed for cognitive function thirteen years after they entered the study.
The study tried to balance various factors other than age and walking such as lifestyle, education, gender and health status. It was found those who walked 6-9 miles per week had larger volumes of gray matter in areas of their brains. The group of older adults who walked the most had the only association with increased brain matter.
What makes the study more substantiated is the large sample size and the relatively long duration. However, the study relied on self-reporting which is not the most reliable form of testing. The researchers did not directly observe the subjects conducting their walks and measure the distances. Also, brains were only scanned once after nine years. Perhaps the study could have been stronger if brain volume had been measured every year or every six months for nine years.
Image Credit: Tomisti