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Can Spinach Make Your Brain 11 Years Younger?

(The original article is from The Telegraph, here.)

Sounds like Popeye was up to something!

According to new research at Rush University, eating just one portion of leafy greens a day could stave off dementia.

The study evaluated the diet and mental ability of around 950 older people every year for 2-10 years. Participants, who had an average age of 81 years, participated in 19 tests to assess their mental function and identified, from a list of 144 items, what food and drinks featured in their diet.

Adults who ate leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale once or twice a day experienced significantly less cognitive decline than those who did not, even when other factors such as education, exercise and family history of dementia were taken into account.

On average, participants who ate greens halted their mental decline by an average of 11 years, the researchers revealed this week at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston.

Lead researcher Martha Clare Morris said: “Losing one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older. Since declining cognitive ability is central to Alzheimer’s disease and dementias, increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

Morris said that the benefits of leafy greens were probably linked to their high levels of vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene.

It's rich in the antioxidant lutein, which is thought to help protect against cognitive decline, according to researchers from Tufts University. And a longitudinal study at Harvard Medical School found that women who reported eating the most leafy green and cruciferous vegetables had a markedly lower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who ate the least.

Our suggestion? Start adding spinach to your daily diet!

[Image from fitnesskites.com]

 

Lindsey Kennedy

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