Cognitive decline is regarded by many individuals as one of the most frightening symptoms associated with human aging. And such fear is understandable given that our memories make it possible for us to know who we are as well as how to function in society. Countless persons have testified that there is no sadder sight than watching someone you love dearly, grow old and slowly lose his or her own identity. Despite the heartache though, most people view such cognitive losses as inevitable – a burden that must be borne by each individual as we enter the twilight years and that there is nothing we can do about it. However, this belief is not true.
Loss of cognitive function as we age is not normal as there is no timed “switch” that becomes active when a certain number of years have passed. However the brain is at risk of being adversely affected by disease-causing factors such as free radicals, insulin resistance and inflammation. The pharmaceutical industry has made great strides in helping to treat memory loss brought on by aging. But even so, these drugs are often approached with skepticism as they are very expensive and usually come with a plethora of side effects. Perhaps nature has a far simpler and more cost effective solution though – studies show that by regular consuming grapes individuals might significantly slow cognitive decline.
Grapes (and in particular grape seeds) contain a high concentration of polyphenols which are prized by nutritionists for their incredible anti-oxidizing properties. These antioxidants are able to bind with and reduce the oxidative stress caused by free radicals within the body, thereby protecting normal neuronal function. They also enhance the communication pathways between neurons and reduce inflammation which can lead to brain cell damage. Though the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, studies show that an antioxidant rich diet has a direct impact on sharpening memory and lowering the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in senior citizens. Even older individuals who already suffer from mild cognitive decline showed marked improvement when their diet was supplemented with antioxidant rich Concord grape juice.
It is true that growing old is inevitable, but this does not mean that we are powerless to prevent the many debilitating physical and mental changes that usually occur in our later years. Science has begun to prove what the naturalists have known all along – by staying physically active and eating healthy foods such as antioxidant rich grapes, we can enjoy life to the absolute fullest.
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