Most people fear to lose their cognitive function and to get Alzheimer’s disease or dementia as they age. However, what if there was an easy way to significantly reduce your risk? A recent study supports the idea that certain vegetables can reduce cognitive decline. Additionally, keeping your brain stimulated by doing puzzles, quizzes or even learning brain fitness tips could be alternative option to keeping your brain in top form.
The study gave 954 participants with an average age of 81 a 144-item food questionnaire. The participants were followed for an average of 4.5 years and were given a battery of 19 cognitive tests every year. The researchers found that green leafy vegetables, like spinach, kale, mustard greens and collards significantly reduced cognitive decline. Quantitatively, the brain age of someone who ate 1- 2 servings of green leafy vegetables was 11 years younger than those who ate none. Not surprisingly then, the researchers expect green leafy vegetables to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
When looking at specific micronutrients, vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene were found to be the biggest drivers of brain health. No associations were found for lycopene, alpha carotene, or beta-cryptoxanthin.
This study gives you yet another reason to eat your greens. Making a daily habit of eating a salad is a great way to ensure you eat green leafy vegetables every day. You also could use them in sandwiches, as side dishes or anywhere else. Regardless, find a way to eat at least 1 serving of green leafy vegetables a day!
Morris, Martha Clare, et al. “Relations to Cognitive Change with Age of Micronutrients Found in Green Leafy Vegetables.” The FASEB Journal 29.1 Supplement (2015): 260-3.