LivingA salad a day would keep your brain 11...

A salad a day would keep your brain 11 years younger

The passage of time, aging, the shortening of telomeres … It is something that we cannot avoid. As we get older, naturally, cognitive skills and memory decline.

However, eating one serving of leafy greens a day can help preserve memory and cognitive abilities , according to a study by researchers at Rush University in Chicago.

Folic acid , from the B group of vitamins, is found in large amounts in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, chard or lettuce.

In a statement issued by the University, which has published the research in the prestigious scientific journal Neurology , Dr. Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist, explains the results of the study and how it is possible that the introduction of such a simple habit in the diet may have such implications for the brain:

“Adding a daily serving of green leafy vegetables to your diet can be an easy way to help promote brain health,” he says.

In the West there continues to be a strong increase in people with dementia due to the aging of the population and the longer life expectancy. For this reason, the doctor explains, “effective strategies are needed to prevent dementia.”

In the research, 960 older adults completed questionnaires about food and received annual cognitive evaluations, in a follow-up that lasted almost 5 years.

The results were clear: of the people observed in the research, those who periodically consumed a serving of green leafy vegetables had a slower rate of decline in memory and thinking skills tests than people who rarely or never ate them. .

In addition, older adults with this eating habit showed signs of being cognitively 11 years younger.

The higher the frequency, the better

Participants also completed the food frequency questionnaire, which assessed the frequency and number of half-cup servings they ate green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, chard or lettuce.

Specifically, the study divided participants into five groups based on how often they ate green leafy vegetables, and compared the cognitive assessments of those who ate the most (an average of about 1.3 servings per day) and those who ate the least. (0.1 servings per day).

Overall, the participants’ scores on the thinking and memory tests decreased at a normal rate, corresponding to the normal degradation of abilities associated with age.

However, the rate of cognitive decline for those who ate vegetables more often was slower than the rate for those who ate fewer vegetables of this type. A loss of abilities difference equivalent to being 11 years younger, according to Morris.

The study even took into account variables involved that affect brain health: the consumption of alcoholic beverages, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, educational level and the amount of physical and cognitive activities.

Still, the relationship established by the study may be nuanced. “The study results do not prove that eating green leafy vegetables slows brain aging, but they do show an association,” in the words of Dr. Morris. “The study cannot rule out other possible reasons for this relationship.”

Because the study focused on older adults, the results may not apply to younger adults. From now on, the results must be confirmed by other researchers in different populations and through randomized trials to establish a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of green leaves and the reduction in the incidence of cognitive impairment.

Source: Rush University. ‘Daily Leafy Greens May Slow Cognitive Decline’. (2017).

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