Foods and Supplements Act As Powerful Protection for a Diabetic's Health
Fight Mental and Physical Health Declines With Super Foods and a Diet Designed to Support the Brain and Mind
Consumption of superfoods and particular diets have been correlated to robust improvement in brain health, cancer prevention, and heart health.
The health benefits of superfoods with high OREC (oxygen-carrying) values and high levels of antioxidants, such as hemp seeds, walnuts, swiss chard, maca, mushrooms, green tea, berries, and healthy oil should be embraced by diabetics. High-carbohydrate, high-glycemic, grains such as wheat, rice, and corn should be minimized - or at least consumed with anti-inflammatory foods to counter the effects.
By lowering the load of oxidative stress on brain cells, the spectrum of antioxidants supports optimal nerve cell function, longevity, brain volume, and healthy cognitive functioning. Increasing brain volume and reducing inflammation in the brain also supports the production of feel-good neurotransmitters, supporting a positive mood and healthy sleep cycles.1
Epidemiological studies have reported an association between a dietary increase in fruit and vegetable intake with a decrease in cardiovascular disease and the breakdown of neural tissue. Berries and leafy vegetables were found to provide the greatest health benefits. Researchers attributed the health benefits to phenolic constituents and antioxidant activity. (When comparing blueberries and pomegranates, both fruits are "superfoods" considered the healthiest of foods. Both are rich sources of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is the strength of these antioxidants that make these fruits such a powerful force for good health.
They have similar statuses on the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) scale, which is a measure of the strength of an antioxidant’s ability to neutralize damaging free radicals (the higher, the better).1 Pomegranate has an ORAC of 4479 while blueberries have a value of 4669. 2 These colorful fruits are a wonderful supporter of immune function, cardiovascular health, and cognition, in addition to balancing blood sugar and supporting healthy vision.4
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As antioxidants, these two berries are exceptional supporters of memory and cognitive function. Our nerves are subject to free radical and oxidative damage hundreds of times per day. This damage leads to immune and inflammation activation and over time can age the brain (and the rest of the body) at the cellular level. Antioxidants protect our nerves and all our other cells from oxidative damage by allowing themselves to be broken down, sparing our DNA and other tissues. Antioxidants are martyrs for oxidative damage - the stronger, the better. By protecting vulnerable nerve cells in the brain from oxidative damage, those brain cells function much better and even live longer.7 Oxidative damage prevents proper nerve cell-to-cell communication, which impedes memory, focus, mood, sleep, and coordination.8,9
Healthy Brain Function, Memory, and Cardiovascular Health
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A study of middle-aged and older adults with mild memory impairment showed fruits and vegetables with red coloring - in particular pomegranate juice, to be highly beneficial.
(Thirty-two subjects received either 8oz. of pomegranate juice daily or pomegranate flavored placebo for 4 weeks. Before and after the study, participants were assessed cognitively using memory testing and functional brain activation scans. At the end of the 4-week trial, the pomegranate group only showed significant improvement in cognitive assessments of verbal memory and overall brain function. The pomegranate group also had a marked improvement in blood levels of antioxidants and other functional phytonutrients. The placebo group did not experience the same benefits, suggesting that pomegranate plays an important role in improving memory and task-related functional brain activity.)5
Blueberries also support brain function and a healthy memory. A 2010 study of older adults with early-stage cognitive decline examined the effects of blueberry juice on memory. The study participants drank either wild blueberry juice or a berry placebo for 12 weeks. While the placebo group experienced little to no memory improvement, the blueberry group experienced a substantial improvement in paired-associate learning as well as word list recall. This shows that blueberries help nerve cells communicate better. The blueberry group also experienced a reduction in depression and lower, healthier glucose levels.6
The improved mood reflects the inflammation-modulating ability of blueberries, while lower glucose levels reflect steadier energy usage in the brain, which can have significant positive effects on overall cognitive function and mental stamina. The anthocyanins and other antioxidants in blueberries and pomegranates have been linked to increased nerve signaling in the brain, improved memory as well as more efficient removal of excess glucose (sugar) in the brain, which leads to more balanced brain energy. The combination of these effects supports healthy brain structural connectivity and slows neurodegeneration.
As we age, these foods can give us the support to grow older gracefully and perhaps even become a bit wiser with a bigger brain, increases in neural tissue, and protections against arteriosclerosis, arthritis, and cognitive functioning, as well. When you are looking to protect your brain from age-related cognitive decline, look no farther than anthocyanins from pomegranate and blueberry. Add high ORAC superfoods to your life and protect your brain from the ravages of blood sugar swings and age.
1. High-ORAC Foods May Slow Aging: USDA ARS High-ORAC Foods May Slow Aging: USDA ARS. (2019). Ars.usda.gov. Retrieved 26 November 2019, from https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/1999/high-orac-foods-may-slow-aging/
2. ORAC Values: Food Antioxidant Database | Superfoodly ORAC Values: Food Antioxidant Database | Superfoodly. (2022). Superfoodly.com. Retrieved 26 November 2019, from https://www.superfoodly.com/orac-values/
4. Health benefits of pomegranate - Times of India. (2019). The Times of India. Retrieved 26 November 2022, from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/pomegranate-benefits/articleshow/60114168.cms
5. Pomegranate Juice May Slow Age-Related Memory Decline
Pomegranate Juice May Slow Age-Related Memory Decline. (2019). Medscape. Retrieved 26 June 2022, from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/9098
6. Blueberries May Boost Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment. (2019). Medscape. Retrieved 26 June 2019, from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/
7. 'Blue' in Blueberries Tied to BP Lowering that Rivals Medication. (2019). Medscape. Retrieved 26 November 2019, from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/909717
8. Mediterranean Diet Linked to Larger Brain Volume Medscape. (2019). Mediterranean Diet Linked to Larger Brain Volume. [online] Available at: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/853114 [Accessed 26 June. 2022].
8. Mediterranean Diet May Preserve Brain Structural Connectivity
Medscape. (2019). Mediterranean Diet May Preserve Brain Structural Connectivity. [online] Available at: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/849205 [Accessed 26 Nov. 2021].
9. Med Diet With Nuts, Olive Oil Linked to Better Cognition
Medscape. (2019). Med Diet With Nuts, Olive Oil Linked to Better Cognition. [online] Available at: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/844593 [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
10 Rodgers Dinstel, R., Cascio, J. and Koukel, S. (2013). The antioxidant level of Alaska's wild berries: high, higher, and highest. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 72(1), p.21188.