A study from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago showed that although cognitive ability naturally declines with age, eating a green leafy vegetable every day can help maintain your memory and thinking ability after aging. Related results were published on the December 20th issue of the Neurology of the American Academy of Neurology.
“Adding a green leafy vegetable to your diet every day can be a simple way to help boost your brain,” said research author Rash University nutrition and epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris. “As the number of elderly people continues to rise, the percentage of people with dementia continues to increase dramatically. Therefore, we urgently need effective prevention strategies for dementia.”
The results of the study showed that people who ate a green leafy vegetable every day showed a slower decline in memory and thinking ability compared to those who did not eat or rarely eat green leafy vegetables. The results also showed that elders who ate at least one green leafy vegetable per day were comparable to those who were younger than 11 years old.
960 seniors completed the food questionnaire and received an annual cognitive assessment
The study recruited volunteers who had participated in the Rush University Memory and Aging Program, which began in 1997 and was among residents of retirement communities and high-end public apartments in the Chicago area. The researchers added a “Food Frequency Questionnaire” between February 2004 and February 2013, with a total of 1,068 participants completed. 960 of them also received at least two cognitive assessments for researchers to study cognitive changes.
The 960 participants enrolled in the study had an average age of 81 years at the start of the study and did not develop dementia. They conduct thinking and memory tests every year, and the researchers tracked them for an average of 4.7 years. Participants completed a food frequency questionnaire to assess their frequency and food intake of leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale / kale and lettuce/salad.
The researchers divided the participants into five groups based on the frequency of eating green leafy vegetables, and compared the cognitive abilities of those who ate the most green leafy vegetables (1.3 per day on average) and the least-populated population (average 0.1 per day). .
Overall, the scores of participants in the thinking and memory tests decreased by approximately 0.08 standard units per year. After 10 years of tracking, the cognitive decline of those who ate the most green leafy vegetables was 0.05 standard units slower than those who ate the least. According to Morris, the difference is equivalent to 11 years younger.
Scientists also need to further study in young and minority groups
The results of the trial are still valid after considering other factors that may affect brain health, such as seafood and alcohol intake, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, education and physical activity, and cognitive activity.
“The results of this study did not prove that eating green leafy vegetables can delay brain aging, but it shows a connection with it,” Morris said. “The study cannot rule out other possible reasons for this connection.”
Because the subject is older and mostly white, this result may not be extended to younger and other races. According to Morris, the results need to be confirmed by other studies in different populations, and randomized trials are needed to establish a causal relationship between eating green leafy vegetables and delaying cognitive decline.