The researchers wanted to determine if pterostilbene would be effective in reversing the effects of aging on mature rats. They fed older rats either a control diet, or a diet adjusted to include either low or high concentrations of pterostilbene.
The results indicated that in aging rats, pterostilbene was effective in reversing cognitive decline, and that improved working memory was linked to pterostilbene levels in the hippocampus region of the brain. Pterostilbene is the same potent berry compound that has previously been found to reduce your risk of colon cancer and lower cholesterol levels as well as prescription drugs (but without the side effects).
It is one of countless antioxidant compounds found in berries that have yielded promising health effects, particularly when it comes to aging.
Oxidative damage is thought to be one of the primary factors in brain aging, and the research suggests that diets rich in natural antioxidants may help to slow this damage. This is one reason why blueberries, which are particularly high in antioxidants, are known to help support your brain health.
Berries, and grapes in particular, are also a source of one of the most exciting anti-aging compounds known, resveratrol.
The highest concentration of resveratrol in nature is found in muscadine grapes because of their extra thick skins and numerous seeds, where it is concentrated. Grapes produce resveratrol as a defense against fungi.
Studies show that resveratrol may increase the lifespan in human cells, so it could be a key to extending your longevity. And like pterostilbene, resveratrol reduces oxidative stress damage to your body by neutralizing free radicals.
Should You Eat More Berries to Slow Down Aging?
Berries contain compounds with tremendous health value, but because they are also naturally rich in sugar they fall into the “eat in moderation” food category.
If you are overweight, have diabetes or high blood pressure -- all signs that your insulin levels are elevated -- you are best off avoiding fruits altogether or limiting them to a small handful of berries a day.
If you are currently healthy, a small amount of fruit should not be a problem as long as you follow the guidelines of your nutritional type.
For example, if you’re a protein type, fruits are generally not beneficial for you with the exception of coconut, which has a higher fat content that is beneficial for protein types.
On the other hand, carbohydrate types tend to fare well with fruit and can safely consume moderate amounts. This is an important distinction, and all nutritional types should try to eat primarily the specific fruits that are best for their unique biochemistry.
Of course, if you’re really interested in slowing down aging, you need to look at the big picture -- and that involves much more than simply eating more berries.
Cutting-Edge Insights From One of the Leading Anti-Aging Researchers in the World
Aubrey de Grey is one of the leading anti-aging researchers in the world, and if you’re interested in this topic you’ll definitely want to listen to the 30-minute interview I recently conducted with him.
Dr. de Grey explains how aging is a preventable phenomenon, and much like a disease, merely a side effect of being alive. He believes humans could live for several centuries, if only we approach the aging process as an “engineering problem.”
According to de Grey, there are "7 Deadly Things" that are responsible for your physical aging, and are the basis of his “engineering approach” solutions.
Essentially, de Grey’s hypothesis states that if you can keep these seven deadly cell-damaging processes below the threshold of pathology -- the state where processes start to break cells down until your body dies from the cumulative damage -- you will be able to extend your life indefinitely.
He focuses on technologies that actually reverse the damage that aging causes, and he is confident that it will be possible one day to not only reverse the internal tissue damage but the physical external appearance as well (which he believes will be much easier to do).
This is truly an exciting area of research, and one that I am following closely. Still, for now the best method there is for staying healthy and full of vigor well into your elder years is to follow the lifestyle changes that I routinely advocate.
If you have not yet read my past article Could You Live Longer Than 140 Years?, please do so now. In it you’ll find another intriguing video from Aubrey de Grey, along with nine of my top tips to help you maximize your lifespan right now.