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Boost Memory with Foods like Peppers and Celery


A diet containing luteolin, the plant compound found in such eatables as peppers, carrots, celery, olive oil, peppermint, chamomile, rosemary can results in having fewer inflammatory molecules in the brain. Luteolin is a bioflavonoid found in many foods.

When there is less inflammatory molecules it reduces age-related inflammation and its corresponding memory problems, according to a new study by the University of Illinois.

It appears that Inflammation in the brain is the key contributor to age-related memory problems. “We found previously that during normal aging, microglial cells become dysregulated and begin producing excessive levels of inflammatory cytokines,”said study leader and animal sciences professor Rodney Johnson. “We think this contributes to cognitive aging and is a predisposing factor for the development of neurodegenerative diseases.”

For almost ten years, Johnson and his team have been researching the anti-inflammatory properties of nutrients and various bioactive plant compounds, including luteolin. Earlier studies have revealed that luteolin has anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

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It is important to note that this is the first study to show that luteolin improves mental health by acting directly on the microglial cells to decrease their production of inflammatory cytokines in the brain. “The neurons survived because the luteolin inhibited the production of neurotoxic inflammatory mediators,” Johnson said.

The researchers found that exposing only the neurons to luteolin before the experiment did not affect their survival.“This demonstrated that luteolin isn’t protecting the neurons directly,” he said. “It’s doing it by affecting the microglial cells.”

The scientists studied mice for a period of four weeks. The mice were given a control diet or a luteolin-supplemented diet. Scientists observed their spatial memory and measured levels of inflammatory markers in the hippocampus, a region in the brain associated with memory and spatial awareness. “When we provided the old mice luteolin in the diet it reduced inflammation in the brain and at the same time restored working memory to what was seen in young cohorts,” Johnson said.

“We believe dietary luteolin accesses the brain and inhibits or reduces activation of microglial cells and the inflammatory cytokines they produce. This anti-inflammatory effect is likely the mechanism which allows their working memory to be restored to what it was at an earlier age.”

“These data suggest that consuming a healthy diet has the potential to reduce age-associated inflammation in the brain, which can result in better cognitive health,” he said.