Leafy greens can help to slow cognitive decline and improve brain function, according to a recent study from Rush University Medical Center. The research examined the diets of 960 people aged between 58 and 99, who had no cognitive impairment, over an average of nearly five years. Those who ate an average of 1.3 servings of leafy greens per day had the cognitive function of people more than a decade younger than those who didn’t eat them. Leafy greens contain folate, vitamin K and antioxidants, which protect against inflammation and free radicals. Recommended examples include kale, spinach and collard greens.
Study Shows Leafy Greens Can Improve Cognitive Function
Many people know that leafy greens are an important part of a healthy diet, but did you know that they can also improve cognitive function? A recent study conducted by scientists at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that consuming leafy greens regularly can slow cognitive decline and improve brain function.
How Was the Study Conducted?
The study followed 960 participants over an average of 4.7 years. The participants were between the ages of 58 and 99 and had no cognitive impairment at the start of the study. The researchers collected data on the participants’ diets and tracked their cognitive abilities through yearly tests.
What Did the Study Find?
The study found that those who regularly consumed leafy greens had slower cognitive decline than those who did not. The participants who consumed an average of 1.3 servings of leafy greens per day showed the cognitive abilities of people over a decade younger than those who did not consume leafy greens.
Specifically, the study found that consuming leafy greens led to significant improvements in several areas of cognitive function, including:
- Verbal fluency
- Processing speed
Why Do Leafy Greens Improve Cognitive Function?
Leafy greens are rich in several nutrients that are known to improve cognitive function:
- Folate: Folate is a B vitamin that is essential for brain health. It plays a key role in the production of neurotransmitters, which are essential for communication between brain cells.
- Vitamin K: Vitamin K is important for brain health because it helps protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can lead to cognitive decline.
- Antioxidants: Leafy greens are a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals.
How Can I Incorporate More Leafy Greens Into My Diet?
If you’re looking to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet, here are a few tips:
- Add spinach or kale to your morning smoothie
- Swap out lettuce for kale or spinach in your salads
- Sautee spinach or kale and mix it in with your eggs in the morning
- Try new recipes that feature leafy greens, such as sauteed collard greens or Swiss chard with garlic and lemon.
The results of this study are clear: consuming leafy greens can improve cognitive function and slow cognitive decline. If you’re looking to improve your brain health, be sure to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet!
What types of leafy greens are best for cognitive function?
Spinach, kale, and collard greens are some of the best leafy greens for cognitive function. They are all rich in folate, vitamin K, and antioxidants.
Can eating too many leafy greens be harmful?
It is unlikely that consuming too many leafy greens would be harmful. However, if you are taking blood-thinning medication, you should talk to your doctor before consuming large amounts of leafy greens, as they are high in vitamin K, which can interfere with blood clotting.
How much leafy greens should I eat to improve cognitive function?
The participants in the study consumed an average of 1.3 servings of leafy greens per day. That’s equivalent to about one cup of cooked spinach or two cups of raw leafy greens. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to this amount – consuming more leafy greens is always beneficial!