Want to prevent dementia during your older years? Well, that question may be countered with, “Who doesn’t?”. Dementia is one of the scariest conditions of aging. Indeed, the thought of losing our ability to mentally function can be petrifying. According to a recent study, dementia can be prevented or at least delayed simply by watching what we eat.
Researchers, from Rush University Medical School in Chicago, discovered that eating leafy greens – the equivalent of about a cup and a half a day – may lower risk of developing memory deficits associated with dementia.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 960 men and women who did not have dementia, aged 58 to 99 years old. They were followed for a period of five years.
The participants were asked questions relating to their diet, such as how often they ate certain foods including leafy greens. As the name suggests, leafy greens are plant leaves that are eaten as vegetables. These include kale, spinach, collard, and lettuce.
The participants all underwent yearly testing of cognitive function and memory.
The researchers found that participants who regularly ate more leafy greens tested the equivalent of 11 years younger compared to those who ate less leafy greens. The rate of decline was much slower in people who ate more leafy greens regularly.
This suggests that not only could eating leafy vegetables help slow dementia, but also keep our brains functioning at a younger level.
During the study, the researchers attempted to control other factors known to contribute to brain health such as reading books, solving puzzles, and physical activity. The contribution of these factors cannot be completely ruled out.
Being an observation study, the research could only show an association, not that eating these leaves could actually slow dementia. All the same, the study does suggest that eating green leaves regularly may help prevent or slow dementia. Add to that all the other health benefits associated with green vegetables and you see why mama was right when she insisted that you eat your vegetables.