The results of a recent study are offering new hope that avoiding memory loss related to aging as well as Alzheimer’s disease could be as simple as eating more cucumbers.
Many older adults resign themselves to memory loss as part of the aging process. However, a study out of the the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has shown that this doesn’t have to be the case. The health benefits of cucumbers are many, and one of them seems to be better memory and even the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers working with mice that normally developed the symptoms of Alzheimer’s (including memory loss) discovered that a daily dose of a flavonol called fisetin prevented these and other related impairments. This improvement occurred despite the continued formation of amyloid plaques, the brain proteins commonly blamed for Alzheimer’s.
A natural food cure for memory loss
The compound fisetin is found in numerous vegetables and fruits but is especially concentrated in strawberries and cucumbers. This flavonol is quite effective in stopping memory loss in mice and holds hope for humans as well.
In the past, the main approach to treating Alzheimer’s symptoms was to target amyloid plaques in the brain. The findings of this study call into question the assumption that these proteins are largely responsible for the effects of Alzheimer’s.
Even in animals with no signs of Alzheimer’s and otherwise normal functioning, fisetin has been shown to improve memory. However, its ability to prevent memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease could have profound implications for humans.
Cucumbers protect the brain from inflammation
Fisetin works by switching on a cellular pathway associated with the process of retrieving memories in the brain. Over a decade ago, other researchers discovered the compound fisetin assists in protecting the neurons of the brain from aging and its associated effects. It was found that this potent compound has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on brain cells.
The list of health benefits of cucumbers, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables containing fisetin now include brain and memory improvements. By extension, fisetin has properties that can be highly beneficial for those at risk for Alzheimer’s.
Other health benefits of cucumbers
In addition to improving memory and potentially protecting against Alzheimer’s, the cucumber fruit has a range of additional nutritional and health benefits. They are low in calories (a cup of cucumbers contains just 16 calories) and assist in hydration (they are comprised of 95 percent water). They also provide flavonoids, triterpenes and lignans which offer anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cancer-preventing benefits.
The peel and seeds in cucumbers contain beta-carotene for eye health and are the most nutrient-dense portions of the fruit. Cucumber seeds contain calcium and the skin and seeds are also excellent sources of fiber. Other vitamins include potassium, vitamin C, magnesium and manganese.
With so many health benefits of cucumbers, why not add them to your salad today?