THE UP SIDE TO BEING BLUE

Staying sharp and maintaining your youthful vigor may be as easy as snacking on some blueberries. Researchers have found that aging rats who were fed the equivalent of one cup of blueberries a day were both more coordinated and smarter than their counterparts who weren’t given the fruit.

The berries seem to improve communication between neurons. It was the fact that motor skills were affected that struck the researchers most, however. Until now there were no known substances that could that could restore impaired motor function associated with aging.

Tests are now underway to determine which compounds are responsible for these beneficial effects. Previous studies have shown that plant pigments, such as lycopene and anthocyanins, hold host of healthful properties. It is believed that it may be the anti-oxidant effects of these chemicals that are responsible for the positive results.

Scientists are even looking to antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries as an aid to further the space program. In a related study they found that these foods can prevent the brain damage caused by cosmic rays – an issue that needs to be addressed before we can travel to Mars. It could be that the astronauts will soon be snacking on blueberries!

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