What you eat and drink can protect you from certain diseases and maybe even cure others. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants, which are present in foods like berries, tea and red wine, may help keep elderly brains healthy. Researcher P. Dwight Tapp says, "We found that old dogs that were on an antioxidant diet performed better on a variety of cognitive tests than dogs that were not on the diet. In fact, the dogs eating the antioxidant-fortified foods performed as well as young animals."
Antioxidants help reduce oxidation, a process that damages cells and may make us age faster. Tapp used beagles for his study because, like humans, dogs lose cognitive ability as they age, which is why you can't teach an old one new tricks. Although eating antioxidant-fortified food improved the brains of older dogs, there was no improvement in the younger ones.
Scientists worry that astronauts taking the 3-year-long trip to Mars will be bombarded with cosmic rays, which will damage their brains. Researcher Bernard M. Rabinfed one group of rats a control diet and another group a diet containing either a blueberry or strawberry extract for two months. He then exposed the rats to the equivalent of space radiation. Afterwards, the rats in the antioxidant groups were put back on their diet for one more week, then all the rats were trained to press a lever to receive food.
At first all the rats learned the task equally well, but a year later, only the rats fed the antioxidant-rich diets did as well as they had at first. "These results suggest that certain antioxidant diets can prevent some of the cognitive changes that occur with exposure to cosmic rays," says Rabin.
News is always coming out of England, where everyone breaks for tea daily, about the healing properties of tea. Japanese researchers have found that green tea can stop HIV from spreading. Other research shows that tea can stop the spread of cancer.
A chemical called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) stops HIV from binding to human T cells and spreading throughout the body. It could form the basis of a new range of anti-AIDS drugs.
EGCG can also block some of the enzymes necessary for cancer cells to reproduce and spread. It?s especially effective against cancers of the skin, lung, colon, liver, breast and pancreas. Antioxidants, which help protect against heart attacks, are in both black and green tea.
Tea drinkers seem to get less cancer, especially in Asia, where lots of it is consumed. But simply drinking tea isn?t enough to fight HIV; You need a much greater concentration of EGCG for it to work.
And the best news? Hot cocoa has more antioxidants than red wine, berries or tea!
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