“A simple and effective way to protect against loss in memory and other cognitive abilities”
(Melissa Matthews, Newsweek) Grab a bag of this brain food during your next stop at the store. It may be your best resource for boosting memory.
With experts projecting a sharp increase in Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are looking for ways to prevent cognitive decline.
Nutrition expert Dr. Martha Clare Morris and her team at Rush University in Chicago found that people who eat one to two servings of one particular food each day experience fewer memory problems and cognitive decline compared to people who rarely eat it.
Dr. Morris estimates that those who include about 1.3 servings a day into their diets had brains that are roughly 11 years younger compared to those who consume the least of it.
May add over a decade of better brain health to your life
That food is spinach, along with kale and other leafy greens.
For the study, 960 people, all between 58 and 99 years old and without dementia, completed questionnaires about their dietary habits over the course of nearly five years.
Questions included how often people consumed spinach, salad, and kale, collards, or other greens. Participants also took yearly thinking and memory skill tests to gauge cognitive ability.
Then researchers divided subjects into groups depending on their consumption.
Those who ate the most leafy greens averaged about 1.3 servings per day, while those who consumed the fewest greens averaged 0.1 servings a day.
Scientists followed up with participants for 10 years and discovered that the rate of decline for those who ate the most was the equivalent to being 11 years younger in terms of brain age.
But it’s not just leafy greens that could potentially keep our memories alive. According to Morris, the nutrients found in these vegetables that may be responsible for the brain boosting benefits are found in other food sources, too.
“Some of the nutrients already have excellent scientific evidence, such as vitamin E, a potent antioxidant,” she told Newsweek in an email.
“Other of the nutrients are newly identified.” She cites nitrate, vitamin K and kaempferol as potential contributors to brain health that warrant further examination.
Because this study was observational, the data provide no concrete evidence of a causal relationship between spinach and brain health.
For now, the connection is only a correlation, and does not extend to younger or non-white or Hispanic people. But adding a serving of spinach into your diet is never a bad idea.
“Daily consumption of leafy greens may be a simple and effective way to protect against loss in memory and other cognitive abilities,” said Morris.
Morris’ research used one half cup of cooked spinach as a single serving, which would have about 3.35 milligrams of vitamin E, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Other good sources of the nutrient include almonds and some oils, like sunflower and safflower.
Displayed with permission from Newsweek via Repubhub. Also of interest: Cognitive Decline Could Be Reduced With a Mediterranean-style Diet