Stay Alert in Old Age by Eating Veggies
If you want to keep your mind in good shape as you get older, try eating leafy green vegetables every day.
Researchers studied more than 950 older adults for five years and found that those who ate vegetables held onto their mental abilities better than those who didn't.
"With baby boomers approaching old age, there is huge public demand for lifestyle behaviors that can ward off loss of memory and other cognitive abilities with age," Martha Clare Morris, assistant provost for community research at Rush University Medical Center and leader of the research team, said.
"Our study provides evidence that eating green leafy vegetables and other foods rich in vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene can help to keep the brain healthy to preserve functioning," she added.
People who ate up to two servings of vegetables per day had a higher cognitive ability than younger people who consumed none.
"Losing one's memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older. Since declining cognitive ability is central to Alzheimer's disease and dementia, increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain from Alzheimer's disease and dementia," Morris said.
Researchers found that vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene were most likely helping to keep the brain active and healthy.
"No other studies have looked at vitamin K in relation to change in cognitive abilities over time, and only a limited number of studies have found some association with lutein," Morris said.