Category Archives: Health
Most people experience a decline in brain function as they age. Fortunately, new research suggests they might be able to boost intelligence by reversing this process with celery and other foods rich in a specific plant compound.
Reducing Age-related Brain Damage
According to researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, luteolin helps to reduce age-related memory deficits in the brain. Found in celery and a few other healthy fruits and vegetables, the natural plant compound appears to do this by suppressing the release of inflammatory molecules, which are known to damage brain neurons as we get older.
Appearing in the Journal of Nutrition, the study focused on microglial cells, which play a key role in immune function within the brain and spinal cord. Under normal circumstances, infections stimulate microglia to make cytokines, which spark an array of chemical changes in the brain. Over time, however, microglial cells can become dysregulated, causing increased inflammation which can spur all sorts of troublesome issues, including loss of appetite, sleepiness, depressive behaviors and memory deficits.
Past research has shown that this process contributes to cognitive aging, while also playing a role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, researchers were able to preserve brain neurons from inflammatory damage by first exposing microglia to luteolin.
What’s more, when they provided older subjects with more dietary luteolin, they demonstrated improved working memory, which rivaled that seen in younger subjects.
Should You Eat More Luteolin?
While this study focused on mice, researchers believe luteolin should have similar positive benefits on human brains. This study further supports other evidence that healthy diets can promote better cognitive health by providing anti-inflammatory effects.
If you would like to increase your luteolin intake but aren’t a big fan of celery, have no fear. Luteolin is also found in carrots, peppers, peppermint, olive oil, rosemary and chamomile.