"This new study suggests that eating apples and drinking juice, in conjunction with a balanced diet, can protect the brain from the effects of oxidative stress," notes lead researcher Thomas B. Shea, of the University of Massachusetts Lowell's Center for Cellular Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research.
Using a well-established animal protocol, Shea and his research colleagues assessed whether consumption of apple juice was protective against oxidative brain damage in aging mice, damage that can lead to memory loss. "These newer findings show that there is something in apples and apple juice that protects brain cells in normal aging, much like the protection we previously saw against Alzheimer-like symptoms," says Shea.
The researchers evaluated adult and aged mice using a standard diet, a nutrient-deficient diet, and a nutrient-deficient diet supplemented with apple juice concentrate in drinking water. Although the adult mice tested were not affected negatively by the deficient diets, the aged mice were, which is consistent with normal aging due to oxidative neurodegeneration.
The effect on cognition among the aged mice was measured through well-established maze tests, followed by an examination of brain tissue. However, the aged mice who consumed the diets supplemented with apple juice performed significantly better on the maze tests and all had less oxidative brain damage than those on the standard diet.
Supplementation by apple juice fully protected the aged mice from the oxidative stress caused by the nutrient-deficient diet. In addition, stronger mental acuity resulted when the aged mice consumed the human equivalent of 2-3 cups of apple juice or approximately 2-4 apples per day. "We believe that this effect is due to the apple's naturally high level of antioxidants," states Shea.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Massachusetts