Consumption of apple or apple juice can increase the level of mental sharpness in aging individuals, according to a study by researchers from University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
The researchers assessed whether drinking apple juice could protect against brain damage in aging mice, damage that can lead to memory loss.
Researcher Thomas B. Shea 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 neuro-degeneration.
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 were given 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 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, they said.
The study, which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, says apples have naturally high level of antioxidants that are responsible for these positive effects.
Although more research is needed, Shea is excited about these brain health findings, which are encouraging for all individuals who are interested in staying mentally sharp as they age.