Spinach and Kale: The New Brain Foods?

Substance found in leafy greens may counter cognitive aging

(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, SCIENCE DAILY)  Spinach and kale are favorites of those looking to stay physically fit, but they also could keep consumers cognitively fit, according to a new study.

Thomas Quine, Creative Commons

The study, which included 60 adults aged 25 to 45, found that middle-aged participants with higher levels of lutein — a nutrient found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, as well as avocados and eggs — had neural responses that were more on par with younger individuals than with their peers. The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

“Now there’s an additional reason to eat nutrient-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs, and avocados,” said Naiman Khan, a professor of kinesiology and community health at Illinois. “We know these foods are related to other health benefits, but these data indicate that there may be cognitive benefits as well.”

RELATED: Cognitive Decline Could Be Reduced With a Mediterranean-style Diet

Most other studies have focused on older adults, after there has already been a period of decline. The Illinois researchers chose to focus on young to middle-aged adults to see whether there was a notable difference between those with higher and lower lutein levels.

“As people get older, they experience typical decline. However, research has shown that this process can start earlier than expected. You can even start to see some differences in the 30s,” said Anne Walk, a postdoctoral scholar and first author of the paper.  READ THE FULL STORY AT SCIENCE DAILY

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