In a study from Rush University, scientists found that eating one serving of leafy green vegetables a day may aid in preserving memory and thinking skills as a person grows older.
The study results suggest that people who ate one serving of green, leafy vegetables had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than people who rarely or never ate them.
The study results also suggest that older adults who ate at least one serving of leafy green vegetables showed an equivalent of being 11 years younger cognitively.
In the study, researchers examined 960 people, who at the study start were an average age of 81 years old and did not have dementia.
They had their thinking and memory skills tested every year and were followed for an average of 4.7 years.
The participants also completed the food frequency questionnaire, which assessed how often and how many half-cup servings they ate of either spinach; kale/collards/greens; or a one-cup serving of lettuce/salad.
Over 10 years of follow-up, the rate of decline for those who ate the most leafy greens was slower than the rate for those who ate the least leafy greens.
This difference was equivalent to being 11 years younger in age, according to the team.
The results remained valid after accounting for other factors that could affect brain health, such as seafood and alcohol consumption, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, education level and amount of physical and cognitive activities.
Because the study focused on older adults with the majority of participants being white, the results may not apply to younger adults and to people of color.
The team says the results need to be confirmed by other research in different populations and through randomized trials to establish a cause-and-effect link between eating leafy greens and reductions in the risk of cognitive decline.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and Vitamin B supplements could help reduce dementia risk.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that high-fiber diet could help lower the dementia risk, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.
The study was conducted by Martha Clare Morris et al and published in Neurology.
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