For women worried about the effects of cognitive decline; apples and apple juice may be among the best foods they could add to their diet, says new research that showed how apple products can help boost brain function.
The new study, from the University of Massachusetts - Lowell (UML) indicates that apple juice consumption may actually increase the production in the brain of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine, resulting in improved memory. Neurotransmitters are chemicals released from nerve cells that transmit messages to other nerve cells.
Past studies that have examined the role of acetylcholine in the brain found that increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain can help to slow mental decline in people with Alzheimer's disease. The new UML study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease , found that having animals consume antioxidant-rich apple juice had a similarly beneficial effect.
"We anticipate that the day may come when foods like apples, apple juice and other apple products are recommended along with the most popular Alzheimer's medications," said UML researcher Thomas Shea.
Shea found that mice fed the apple juice-supplemented diet not only showed an increased production of acetylcholine in their brains, but also performed significantly better on standard maze tests. "It was surprising how the animals on the apple-enhanced diets actually did a superior job on the maze tests than those not on the supplemented diet," remarked Shea.
Shea believes that the findings show that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as apples and apple juice can help reduce problems associated with memory loss and he says that a human study will begin in the near future. (The results obtained from the mice were comparable to humans drinking approximately two 8 oz. glasses of apple juice, or eating 2-3 apples a day.)
Source: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease