friendís son, a self-confessed math geek, got married on
what some say is "the Pi day of the century," March
14, 2015. It had to be explained to me that this date
represents the revered math symbol for the number that begins
3.1415 and continues for eternity. (I thought it was because
they served pie at the wedding.)
fitting though, that Pi Day is followed by Brain Awareness
Week, a global campaign to make us aware of research into our
important gray matter. Two specials foods, I learned, that our
good for our brains, are nuts and berries.
cited in a recent review in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition Studies show that frequent intake of nuts (up to
about an ounce a day) is associated with healthier arteries
and hearts, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk for
diabetes and cancer. Berries, including strawberries,
blueberries, and cranberries, are rich in substances that can
improve immune function, protect against urinary tract
infections and reduce risks for cancer and heart disease.
the combined effects of certain "bioactive
components" in these food categories that appear to be
most beneficial to our brains, say scientists. In fact, some
experts suggest the positive interaction between these two
food categories could be a form of nutrition therapy to
prevent or treat some types of brain abnormalities.
donít even have to cook these easy to eat snacks and food
toppings. We just need to look for them. For example, at the
Phoenix hotel where I stayed for the wedding, we were served
walnuts and dried cranberries alongside cheese and crackers.
Nice touch. Our morning fruit bowl featured blueberries and
in these foods to make our brains work better? Itís probably
the mixture of various polyphenols, say scientists, that
improve cognitive (thinking) function. These compounds fight
against oxidative stress and inflammation, common landmarks of
age-related diseases and decline of brain power.
in berries, for example, work in the regions of the brain
responsible for learning and memory, say nutritional
neuroscientists. Recent studies of older people who adhered to
a Mediterranean style of eating supplemented with olive oil
and/or nuts found lower rates of stroke and depression and
improved cognition in the nut-supplemented group. Another
study found that volunteers with mild impairments in thinking
ability who consumed a bit less than a tablespoon of blueberry
juice daily for 12 weeks had improved memory scores.
case of nuts, more is not always better, however. Animal
studies showed that eating more than about an ounce of nuts a
day was not always beneficial.
way home from the Pi wedding, I ordered a chicken salad at the
airport. And there, peeking out from the lettuce and cucumber
slices, were pecans and cranberries. Guess I just need to do