Sunday, July 3, 2016

Eat spinach to stay sharp: Two helpings a day knocks 11 YEARS off your brain age

A study found that pensioners who regularly ate spinach and other leafy greens stayed sharper for longer. Men and women who had just one or two helpings a day had the brainpower of people 11 years younger.

The US researchers said that something as simple as eating more greens could help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s.

It and other forms of dementia affect more than 800,000 Britons and, worldwide, the number of sufferers is predicted to treble to 44million by 2050 as the population ages.

With existing drugs of limited use and search for a cure ending in disappointment time and time again, some doctors argue that changes to diet and lifestyle offer the best hope of staving off the disease.

The researchers, from Rush University in Chicago, quizzed 950 men and women about their diet.

The volunteers, who had an average age of 81, then did a battery of mental tests every year for up to ten years.

The brains of those who ate leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, aged more slowly, the Experimental Biology conference in Boston heard.

The effect was big, with the slowing of cognitive decline equivalent to 11 years, on average.

It is thought that vitamin K, folate or vitamin B9, and the natural colourings lutein and beta-carotene were behind the effects.

Researcher Dr Martha Morris said: ‘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 dementias, increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain.

‘With baby boomers approaching old age, there is huge public demand for lifestyle behaviours that can ward off loss of memory and other cognitive abilities with age.

‘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 now wants to find out just how these nutrients nourish the brain.
In the meantime, those who don’t like spinach can also get their vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene from carrots, tomatoes and peppers.

Also read: Blend of 30 vitamins and minerals may reverse aging of the brain

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