Can leafy greens protect the brain from aging?

Can leafy greens protect the brain from aging?

Can leafy greens protect the brain from aging?

Most leafy green vegetables are part of the cruciferous family. Health experts have touted the benefits of leafy greens for years. They are truly nature’s potent multi-vitamins.

Eating them on a regular basis will get you a good amount of vitamin A, B, C, K not to mention some folic acid and potassium and of course fiber.

Now, a new study shows that leafy greens may be key to brain health as well. The study from the University of Illinois found that lutein, which is a pigment found in dark-green veggies, helps to keep the brain sharp and reduce cognitive decline.

The study adds to the body of evidence showing that a diet of real, whole, and nutritious foods is key to keeping the brain healthy.

Lutein is part of a family of pigments called carotenoids. Kale, spinach and dandelion greens have the highest lutein content of all foods. Other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.

After lutein rich foods are consumed, it helps protect the brain, the study authors said. The nutrient is stored in the brain for a lifetime, suggesting that it may continue to protect the brain in the long term.

As a neuroprotective nutrient, lutein may support structure and function in neural membranes, and ultimately may support the cognitive functions that rely upon these neural membranes,” Marta Zamroziewicz, a graduate student in neuroscience and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post.

The study abstract provided the following methods and results:

Methods: We examined 76 cognitively intact adults between the ages of 65 and 75 to investigate the relationship between serum lutein, tests of crystallized intelligence (measured by the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence), and gray matter volume of regions within the temporal cortex. A three-step mediation analysis was implemented using multivariate linear regressions to control for age, sex, education, income, depression status, and body mass index.

Results: The mediation analysis revealed that gray matter thickness of one region within the temporal cortex, the right parahippocampal cortex (Brodmann’s Area 34), partially mediates the relationship between serum lutein and crystallized intelligence.

This is not the first study to link leafy greens to brain health. Last April, we reported on a study from Rush University, which showed that nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene found in leafy greens help keep the brain sharp.

This study contributes to a line of evidence which suggests that particular nutrients may be important for slowing specific aspects of aging in the brain,” Zamroziewicz said. “This work helps us understand how certain components of a healthy diet may improve specific aspects of brain health.”

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Eating Green Leafy Vegetables Keeps Mental Abilities Sharp.” Newswise. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2016.
2. “How Leafy Greens May Protect The Brain From Aging.” The Huffington Post, n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2016.
3. “Parahippocampal Cortex Mediates the Relationship between Lutein and Crystallized Intelligence in Healthy, Older Adults.” Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience. Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience, n.d. Web. 29 Dec. 2016.

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