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New Study: Regularly Eating Leafy Greens Takes 11 Years off Your Brain’s Age!
There’s more good news about leafy greens! New research shows that eating more greens like spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens could help slow the rate of age-related cognitive decline in older folks.
Dr. Martha Clare Morris presented her team’s findings at the Experimental Biology Meeting in Boston in March and explained their importance: “Losing’s one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people at they get older…increasing your consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain…”
Researchers tracked 954 seniors (average age 81) who were taking part in the Memory and Aging Project. They followed them for an average of five years and found that those who consumed leafy greens daily were considerably sharper than those who skimped on these nutrient-packed veggies.
Here’s how the study worked. Participants recorded what they ate and drank every day, and researchers computed the day’s nutrient content. The seniors took a battery of cognitive tests every year, which were then adjusted for age, sex, education, smoking, genetic risks of memory decline, and level of physical activity. Amazingly, when researchers compared those who ate one to two servings per day to those who ate none, the green leafy vegetable fans had the cognitive abilities of a person eleven years younger!
Why are leafy greens so beneficial to cognitive function? Scientists think the nutrients vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene are responsible. Importantly, this is the first study to establish a link between intake of vitamin K — which is abundant in green leafy vegetables — and mental abilities. Previous research had established that folate and beta-carotene can boost cognition in older adults, and this study confirmed those findings. Up until now, the evidence for lutein was more limited, but this study also strengthened that evidence.
If you’re looking to increase your vitamin K intake, kale is a great place to start. A one-cup serving has a whopping 778 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI). Spinach’s vitamin K content isn’t too shabby either, at 181 percent of the RDI, and broccoli weighs in at 116 percent.
In addition to green leafy vegetables, you can also get folate from citrus fruits and pomegranate, while orange-fleshed fruits and vegetables such as papaya and carrots supply beta-carotene. Likewise, lutein is also found in carrots, grapes, and oranges.
What else do all these fruits and vegetables have in common? They’re all included in Juice Plus+ Garden, Orchard, or Vineyard Blends! Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to get your fill of nutrients associated with preserving cognition later in life; however, there are times when we all fall short, so it’s good to know Juice Plus+ is there to help bridge the gap.
What’s your favorite leafy green? Any preparation tips?
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