Health & Wellbeing

Cognitive decline may be slowed by leafy greens

A daily salad might be a good idea for people wishing to stave off dementia
A daily salad might be a good idea for people wishing to stave off dementia
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A daily salad might be a good idea for people wishing to stave off dementia
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A daily salad might be a good idea for people wishing to stave off dementia

According to a new study conducted by Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, just one serving of leafy green vegetables per day could help preserve memory and thinking skills as we get older. In fact, following such a diet may slow brain aging by up to 11 years.

The study involved 960 participants, who were followed over an average of 4.7 years. Their average age was 81 when the study began, and none of them were experiencing dementia. They got their thinking and memory skills tested every year, plus they completed food frequency questionnaires – these assessed how often they ate one or more half-cup servings of greens such as spinach, kale, lettuce or collard greens.

Although all of the participants' test scores decreased somewhat over the years, the rate of decline for the people who ate the most leafy vegetables (1.3 servings per day) was 0.05 standardized units slower than that of the people who ate the least vegetables (0.1 servings per day). While that might not sound like much, over the course of the study it added up to the equivalent of their being 11 years younger than their veg-shunning counterparts.

The study did account for factors such as alcohol consumption, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, education level and amount of physical and cognitive activities. That said, the researchers do admit that the majority of the participants were older and white, so their findings may not apply to those who are younger or of other races.

"Adding a daily serving of green leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to help promote brain health," says study author Martha Clare Morris. "There continue to be sharp increases in the percentage of people with dementia as the oldest age groups continue to grow in number. Effective strategies to prevent dementia are critically needed."

Source: Rush University

5 comments
F. Tuijn
I don't think this will work for me as I am already eating the larger amount of green per day as well as fruit and plan to continue that way.
michael_dowling
I hate making salads,but will eat one if put in front of me. I have a simple smoothie recipe that probably gives me my daily greens,and it is delicious: One cup of milk,a fistful of baby spinach,and a cup of frozen blueberries,all blended till smooth.
Saigvre
F. Tuijin, surely it is working for you unless you'd like to post evidence of your cognitive decline; maybe a couple of metal albums from '17, atonal flute sonatas, @nihilist_arbys in your followers...collected faint praise if any? Well then...good on you! For me, I need to go plant a Congress of ramps and Administrative Self-Care in otherwise aestivating mulch. (Then I can decide whether I liked them much!)
KyleButler
Yeah, I thought I'd go healthy and eat a bunch of leafy greens...and it gave me kidney stones! Turns out those things are full of calcium and you can overdose on it real quick, with kidney stones as a result. Nothing like 13 hours of excruciating pain to teach you a lesson. I should've stuck with Doritos.
ljaques
I wonder if comprehensive blood testing and comparison was done on all of these folks. What was it in the leafy greens which helped the patients? Granted, everyone should eat fresh veggies and greens daily, but were the micronutrients tracked? I rather doubt it, or they would have said so, making this yet another subjective, non-peer-reviewed test. <sigh> As to kidney stones, most people don't hydrate nearly enough for bodily health. How to prevent kidney stones naturally: Stay hydrated. Drinking more water is the best way to prevent kidney stones. ... Eat more calcium-rich foods. ...interesting, oui? Eat less sodium. ... Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods. ...spinach,beets,rhubarb Eat less animal protein. ... Avoid vitamin C supplements. ... Explore herbal remedies.