Despite elegant research involving molecular biology studies and determination of the genetic mechanisms of aging, practical information on how to forestall or reverse the deleterious effects of aging may be years away. If this is the case, then it is prudent to try to establish other methods that can be used now to alter the course of aging. Numerous epidemiologic studies have indicated that individuals who consume diets containing large amounts of fruits and vegetables may reduce their risk for developing age-related diseases such as Alzheimer disease. Research from our laboratory suggested that dietary supplementation with fruit or vegetable extracts high in antioxidants (eg, blueberry or spinach extracts) might decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging. These reductions might be expressed as improvements in motor and cognitive behavior. Additional research suggested that mechanisms in addition to antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities might be involved in the beneficial effects of these extracts; the most important of these might be their ability to increase cellular signaling and neuronal communication.
Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Casadesus G. Reversing the deleterious effects of aging on neuronal communication and behavior: beneficial properties of fruit polyphenolic compounds. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 January US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, and the Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA