Your hair turns gray... your eyesight wanes... and your "laugh lines" multiply.

As we age, it seems like the only constant is CHANGE!

Embracing these changes is generally a good thing -- because they're inseparable from all that wisdom you've gained along the path of life.

But the one place you don't want too many changes is your BRAIN.

Everything from thinning brain tissue to "plumbing" problems in your brain's blood vessels has been linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

And these are the worst kind of changes… because you can't SEE them… and you may not even know they're occurring until it's too late.

But according to a new study, there's a natural way to protect your brain from the alterations of Alzheimer's -- and if you're a fan of apples, you're going to love this.

That's because lycopene -- an antioxidant that gives fruits like apples their red hue -- can guard your gray matter against Alzheimer's and even improve cognitive function in those who already have it.

In the study, Chinese researchers induced Alzheimer's in rats and then supplemented some of their diets with lycopene.

Now, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's is the buildup of beta-amyloid protein (a.k.a. "plaques") in key brain regions such as the hippocampus, which plays a critical role in learning and memory.

And by the end of the study, the rats that received lycopene had FEWER plaques than the rats that didn't.

That's likely why the lycopene-eaters also did better on tests of learning and memory than they had at the beginning of the study, meaning lycopene actually REVERSED their Alzheimer's deficits.

What's more, the rats in the lycopene group had less inflammation in their brains than the controls’ -- which suggests that the powerful antioxidant properties of lycopene can tamp down the inflammation that sets off plaque formation.

And the benefits of lycopene don't stop at your gray matter. This red pigment has also been shown to lower blood pressure... prevent atherosclerosis... and even slash your risk of certain cancers.

So, why not add more of the color red to the rainbow in your fruit bowl?

Aside from apples, you'll also find lycopene in watermelon and pink grapefruit, though not in strawberries or cherries.

And tomatoes -- which are technically a fruit, not a veggie -- are one of the richest sources.

Cooking tomatoes in a healthy fat like olive oil makes it easier for your body to absorb the lycopene, which means that you'll hit lycopene pay dirt with tomato soups and sauces.

Just stay away from carbo-bombs like pizza and pasta, which only ramp up inflammation!

You can also find lycopene in supplement form at most health food stores.