Individuals could benefit from a diet enriched with foods such as carrots, celery, peppers, chamomile and peppermint as new research suggests that a plant compound in these foods could reduce age-related inflammation in the brain.
In the study published in the Journal of Nutrition, scientists from the University of Illinois discovered that luteolin can positively affect the brain by stopping the release of inflammatory molecules.
For the research, investigators exposed microglial cells to luteolin. Rodney Johnson, lead author of the study, said that these cells "produce excessive levels of inflammatory cytokines" during an individuals' aging process. When the microglia are exposed to bacterial toxin, they kill neurons in the brain.
The scientists discovered that when luteolin was integrated with microglial cells, the neurons were able to survive.
To further their research, adult and younger mice were tested in order to find out whether or not a diet enriched with luteolin would have an effect on the subjects' memories.
The scientists concluded that the older mice who were fed luteolin did better on learning and memory tasks than those who did not receive this diet. Luteolin also helped to restore the older subjects working memories.
Johnson said that these findings suggest that a diet rich in carrots, peppers or celery could "reduce age-associated inflammation in the brain, which can result in better cognitive health."