More reasons to eat a variety of foods - each food will contribute something different, and the effects may be subtle. Here are two healthy foods from plants: orange juice and shiitake mushrooms. From Medical Xpress
Drinking orange juice could help improve brain function in elderly people, according to new research from the University of Reading.The study saw a group of 37 healthy adults (mean age 67 years) consuming 500 ml (just under a pint) of orange juice, daily over an eight week period. At the beginning and end of the eight weeks their memory, reaction time and verbal fluency was measured. These were then combined into one overall score known as 'global cognitive function'. The adults showed an 8% overall improvement in global cognitive function after orange juice consumption compared to a control drink (matched for taste and calories) given during a different eight week period. Although subtle, these improvements are significant. ."
Orange juice is a major source of a group of naturally occurring plant phytochemicals known as flavonoids, being particularly rich in a sub-class of flavonoids, known as flavanones. Recent studies from the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy have shown that flavonoids may improve memory through the activation of signalling pathways in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is associated with learning and memory.
Previous Reading research has shown that other flavonoid rich foods such as blueberries are beneficial for cognition. Research is still ongoing to determine the exact mechanisms by which flavonoids may exert benefits to the brain. Several mechanisms haveboosting immune systbeen proposed such as improved blood flow in the brain and protecting neurons against oxidative damage and increasing the efficiency with which neurons transmit signals.
This study was published in April 2015, from Science Daily: Mushrooms boost immunity, suggests research
Could a mushroom a day help keep the doctor away? A new University of Florida study shows increased immunity in people who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks.... 52 healthy adults, age 21 to 41, came to the Gainesville campus, where researchers gave them a four-week supply of dry shiitake mushrooms. Participants took the mushrooms home, cleaned and cooked them. Then they ate one, 4-ounce serving of mushrooms each day during the experiment. Through blood tests before and after the experiment, researchers saw better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins.
"If you eat a shiitake mushroom every day, you could see changes in their immune system that are beneficial," said Percival, an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member. "We're enhancing the immune system, but we're also reducing the inflammation that the immune system produces."