Good “brain food” helps protects your brain against toxins

When it comes to housecleaning, your brain isn't always up to snuff. In fact, to be perfectly honest, your noggin really could use a little help clearing out the cobwebs from time to time. And little did you know, good “brain food” could be the answer…

The sooner you get started, the better. Because unlike letting the laundry go for a few days, or having the dishes stack up, sitting around with a dirty brain can actually have some serious consequences.

You see, devastating diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are associated with toxins building up in the brain. So naturally, getting rid of those dirty toxic intruders and lowering your risk is important.

And now, new research from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging may have just given us an easy--not to mention delicious--way to do just that.

It turns out that good “brain food” like berries might be your brain's best friend.

More on that study in a moment, but first let's go over what we already know about the healing powers of these delicious summertime fruits.

From brains to blood pressure berries do your body good

Research has found that berries are good "brain food," so if you've already been eating your berries like I've been advising you to, I might not need to remind you just how good these little nuggets of nutrition are. Over the years I've shared how they can boost your brain health, reduce your risk of vision loss, fight aging, help manage blood pressure, and even help ward off certain types of cancer.

In 2009 researchers in the UK announced that blueberries might be able to help fight off age-related cognitive decline. Their research found that supplementing the diets of senior rats with blueberry powder helped them to significantly improve their maze-solving abilities...almost catching up with the young whippersnapper control rats.

And a few years later, in another animal study, rats fed a blueberry-enriched diet had their memory scores skyrocket, performing just as well as the young studs in solving mazes from memory. And the blueberries had a lasting effect too, with rats that had eaten the special diet hanging onto their "younger" brains long after they stopped chowing down on this good brain food.

(Age and toxic buildup aren't the only things that can slow your brain down to a crawl. Too much of this one popular food may end up making you stupid! Click here to find out what it is.)

According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, berries could reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.

And, of course, there's the heart-protection that berries may offer. Earlier this year a study published in the journal Circulation found that women who ate at least three servings of strawberries and blueberries a week had a 32 percent drop in heart attack risk, when compared to women who ate berries just once a month or less.

Berries beat disease-linked toxins

Now, new research is adding to an already impressive berry resume. According to researchers, berries can protect your brain by helping clear away toxic proteins that build up and do damage.

Rats fed a berry diet for two months had their brains artificially aged using radiation. The rats were then divided into two groups. The first group had their brains evaluated 36 hours after the dose of radiation.

Then after 30 more days on the berry diet, the brains of the group two rats were evaluated. They found that the berry-eaters experienced significant protection against the radiation when compared with the controls. The berries had literally reduced the toxic accumulation.

Researchers aren't exactly sure yet how the berries perform their brain-protecting trick, but they speculate phytonutrients are involved.

I'd say they're definitely on the right track.

As I've explained before, berries are jam-packed with inflammation-fighting antioxidants and other disease-beating phytonutrients. The antioxidants gobble up harmful disease causing free radicals all over your body. But unlike the nutrients found in some other foods, the antioxidants in berries can cross the blood-brain barrier allowing them to target the buildup in your brain.

With spring in full swing and summer right around the corner it's the perfect time to add more berries to your diet. But keep in mind that berries are particularly sensitive to pesticide exposure. So skip the supermarket specials and grab the organic varieties instead.

Organic might cost you a bit more, but the extra cash is well worth it. Try your local farmers market for good deals on organic small-farm fruits and vegetables.