It has been evidenced that at least two parts of the brain are able to generate new neurones (neurogenesis). These areas are the the subventricular zone and the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Factors that can inhibit this process include stress, ageing, anxiety and depression. In contrast, a number of factors have been shown to stimulate this process, and these factors include diet, exercise and environmental enrichment. A number of dietary factors have been shown to influence neurogenesis, including caloric restriction and polyphenols. With regard to polyphenols, studies have evidenced that they possess neuroprotective effects and this has been related to their antioxidant effects. For example, in rats, blueberries have been shown to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Researchers have also evidenced that flavonoid from the Chinese herb Xiaobuxin-Tang were able to stimulate neurogenesis. Diets high in polyphenols may therefore have particular effects at protecting the brain by stimulating neurogenesis.
Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself