Published: Fri, December 22, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Leafy green vegetables linked to slower decline in memory and thinking skills

Leafy green vegetables linked to slower decline in memory and thinking skills

Intake of primary nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables is associated with slower cognitive decline, according to a study published online December 20 in Neurology.

The researchers studied food questionnaires completed by 960 dementia-free people with an average age of 81 who had their thinking and memory skills tested yearly as part of an investigation into ageing and memory. The rates for the highest versus the lowest quintiles of intake in adjusted models were β = 0.02 for phylloquinone, β = 0.04 for lutein, β = 0.05 for folate, β = 0.02 for α-tocopherol, β = 0.04 for nitrate, β = 0.04 for kaempferol, and β = 0.02 for β-carotene, with the latter rate being nonsignificant.

They found that peole who ate at least one serving of leafy green veg a day showed the equivalent of being 11 years younger, cognitively speaking. Those classed as eating the most green, leafy vegetables had between 1 and 2 servings each day.

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Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables every day could ward off dementia in later life, new research suggests. Individuals eating one or two daily servings of vegetables like spinach, lettuce or kale, witnessed much slower cognitive decline. In fact, their scores were similar to those of people 11 years younger, irrespective of other factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and education level. Alzheimer's Research UK said that the observational nature of the investigation meant that it was impossible to conclusively say that leafy, green vegetables are any better for brain health than other vegetables.

'The researchers did not directly look at dementia, so we can not say that it would delay or prevent the onset of the condition.

Dr Martha Morris, of Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago, led the study published in the journal Neurology. The volunteers were also asked to take annual tests for cognitive abilities of the brain (attention, memory, thinking).

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