Green leafy goodness
A pioneering study shows that leafy greens can slow down cognitive decline with aging
Green leafy vegetables contain many nutrients and natural compounds that are thought to be health-beneficial and have the potential to protect our tissues from damage. As a part of the Memory and Aging Project, the scientific team studied 960 participants, their food intake and cognitive abilities over several years. These quantities were used as examples of one serving of green leafy vegetables: half a cup cooked spinach, half a cup of cooked kale/collards/greens or one cup of raw lettuce/salad leaves.
The results showed that consumption of green leafy vegetables was significantly associated with slower cognitive decline. People consuming just over one serving a day had remarkably better cognitive skills - so much so that the researchers quantified this as being 11 years younger in age!
Further investigation of the nutrients found in green leafy vegetables indicated that higher food intakes of folate, phylloquinone and lutein were each associated with slower cognitive decline and appeared to account for the protective effect of these vegetables.
Morris MC et al., 2017. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000004815 [Epub ahead of print].