Thoughts on Better Aging

Eat Leafy Greens to Protect Your Memory

February 6th, 2018

New research shows a link between leafy greens and slower cognitive decline

Are you concerned about the possibility of memory loss and cognitive decline as you age? You’re not alone. Many people fear that the occasional forgetfulness that comes with menopause or andropause is a harbinger of Alzheimer’s.

The good news is, there are a variety of steps you can take to protect brain health as your age. According to a recent study from the journal Neurology, eating more leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collard greens may be one of them.

The study was based on data from the Memory and Aging Project. Participants’ abilities are evaluated using a battery of memory tests each year, and their diet and lifestyle habits are also tracked. The researchers analyzed the eating habits of 960 participants. None of them have dementia and their average age is 81. After dividing these participants into five groups based on how many servings of greens they eat per day, the researchers found a strong correlation between eating more greens and having better memory.

Over the course of the 5-year study, all participants showed some decline in memory. However, in the group who ate the most greens (about 1.3 servings per day), memory declined at half the rate that it did in the group who ate the least greens (little to no greens per day).

Why Are Leafy Greens Good for Memory?

Leafy greens contain a variety of nutrients and bioactive compounds that can help support brain health. For example, leafy greens are high in folate. If you are low on folate, you can have higher levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to cognitive impairment in aging adults. Leafy greens also contain plenty of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect brain and nerve cells from damage. Some research has shown that Vitamin E supplements are helpful for preventing Alzheimer’s and for delaying its progress.

How to Get the Health Benefits of Leafy Greens

To get one serving of leafy greens, you need to eat about one cup of fresh greens or a half a cup of cooked greens. Packages of prewashed salad are a very convenient way to get leafy greens into your diet. For those who don’t like salad, leafy greens can be mixed into smoothies. Alternatively, you might consider getting some of the key nutrients found in leafy greens in supplement form. At Renew Youth, we offer a comprehensive multi-vitamin for older adults as well as other nutritional supplements specifically intended to help protect brain health. Contact us today for more information.

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