WE’RE often encouraged to eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day if we want to keep the doctor away.
However, experts have discovered one particular fruit which could help reduce your chances of developing dementia in later life.
The series of studies, published in journal Foods, all found that eating grapes can have a positive impact on your health – especially for those who eat high fat Western diets.
Grapes are known to be rich in chemicals that boost gut bacteria and lower cholesterol.
They also contain high levels of antioxidants which can reduce the risk of many diseases and cancers.
Antioxidants work by keeping your body safe from free radicals in the body, such an inflammation or outside the body such as pollution, UV exposure, and cigarette smoke.
Researchers have discovered that the antioxidants in grapes protect the brain against developing dementia by improving the function of neurons or nerve cells.
Several studies have already found that inflammation in the brain is linked to several forms of dementia.
Dementia is one of Britain’s biggest killers, with one in ten male deaths caused by the condition, and one in eight women.
Another study found that that eating grapes can also reduce the risk of fatty liver disease and can add five additional years to your life.
Fatty liver disease is a common condition caused by the storage of extra fat in the liver.
It’s currently a growing problem across the world, because of unhealthy eating habits.
Although it is rarely fatal, if untreated it can lead to liver failure or liver cancer.
Grapes can also burn up calories by helping to boost your metabolism, the third study discovered.
Researchers from the Western New England University, conducted all three studies on mice.
All the mice in the studies were fed high-fat diets typically consumed in western countries, with only half the mice received grape supplements.
Researchers then compared the brain, liver and metabolic health of the mice who were given grape supplements against with mice who were not.
“It adds an entirely new dimension to the old saying ‘you are what you eat’,” says study co-author Dr John Pezzuto, in a statement.
Grapes actually change the expression of genes, explains the professor of pharmaceutics, who has authored over 600 scientific studies. “That is truly remarkable,” he adds.
Scientists are learning how we switch genes on and off so we can have control over how the body develops throughout life.
Exercise, stress, diet, sleep and meditation are all thought to impact the expression of our genes.
Many people take antioxidant supplements, however, Dr John said it’s not possible to consume “enough” of an antioxidant to make a “big difference” to your health.
“But if you change the level of antioxidant gene expression, as we observed with grapes added to the diet, the result is a catalytic response that can make a real difference,” he explained.
The research was partly funded by The California Table Grape Commission, who provided the grapes used in the experiments.
Previous research found that strawberries can protect the brain from dementia by reducing inflammation.
Some early warning signs of dementia include: slowness of thought, difficulty with planning, trouble with language, problems with attention and concentration, mood or behavioural changes