Eating more of this could slow brain ageing by 11 years
When it comes to eating healthy, you can’t really go wrong with fruit and veg. But just as some fruits are healthier than others, some vegetables have are more nutrient-dense and have more health benefits than others – namely, leafy greens.
Leafy greens – kale, spinach, rocket etc. – have been found not only to help reduce bloating, lower cholesterol and maintain healthy eyesight, but a new study has found they could also slow down brain ageing by up to 11 years.
Researchers from the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago discovered that people who eat at least one serve of leafy greens each day experience slower rates of cognitive decline and memory loss.
They examined the diets of 960 people with an average age of 81, testing their thinking and memory skills every year for an average of 4.7 years along with how often they consumed a half-cup serving of either spinach, kale or collard greens or a one-cup serving of lettuce.
Over the course of the study, the rate of cognitive decline for those who ate the most leafy greens was slower by 0.05 standardised units per year than those who ate the least – in other words, mentally, they were 11 years younger.
“Adding a daily serving of green leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to help promote brain health,” study author and nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris said.
“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.”
The results were consistent even after taking into account lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, obesity, education and frequency of physical and mental exercise.
So while your daily crossword certainly doesn’t hurt, a nice, big, green salad might be even better for your grey matter.