This is How Orange Juice Changes Brain Function In Elderly People
Orange juice may help improve the brain function of seniors, according to a small study by the University of Reading in Berkshire, U.K. The results showed an 8% improvement in reaction time, memory and verbal fluency among orange juice drinkers as compared to those drinking non-citrus juice.
There were 37 subjects in the study with a mean age of 67. They were given either orange juice or a similarly-tasting drink made from squash and asked to drink 500 ml (almost a pint) daily. Cognitive functioning tests were given to the participants both before and after the 8-week study. All the subjects had normal brain functioning. The orange juice group and the controls were not significantly different on the individual tests, but the combined scores of all three tests were better for the orange juice group.
Although the results are slight, researchers believe they are significant. Orange juice contains phytochemicals called flavonoids which improve memory by strengthening pathways in the hippocampus, a part of the brain. Previous studies with other foods containing flavonoids, such as blueberries, have had similar results.
“Small, easily administered changes to the daily diet, such as eating more flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables have the potential to substantially benefit brain health,” said study co-author Dr. David Lamport, Reading University School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences. He calls this study “an important discovery which strengthens the growing body of evidence that flavonoid-rich foodstuffs could play a big role in tackling decline in old age.”
Research on how exactly it happens is still being conducted.
However, in an article entitled “No Proof Orange Juice Boosts Brain Power,” the National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that although the combined scores for the orange juice group were higher, “the overall pattern of the results doesn’t seem convincing. The study does not provide conclusive evidence that drinking orange juice has an effect on brain function.” NIH authors say the study was quite small and the results on the healthy older subjects may not apply to other groups. Also, when the participants were asked which juice they were drinking, most knew.
However, the article acknowledges that “overall cognitive function (the pooled result of all the tests combined) was better after the juice than after the squash.”
The NIH article also noted that funding was provided in part by the Florida Department of Citrus, known as Florida Citrus. This office is responsible for the marketing, research and regulation of the industry, which is a major industry in the state. Florida Citrus also helped in the design of the research.
Orange juice has much nutritional value. The benefits of flavonoids have been researched and found valid. The Reading study does not conclude that a pint of orange juice a day will improve anyone’s brain functioning, but it is good as part of a healthy diet “with an eye on the sugar content.”
Orange juice could help improve brain function in elderly people| MedicalXpress
No Proof Orange Juice Boosts Brain Power| National Institutes of Health