Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago recently concluded a study evaluating the correlation between leafy green vegetables and cognitive health. The results of the study were published in the journal Neurology. The researchers found that older adults who regularly consumed collard greens, kale, mustard greens, and spinach demonstrated better cognitive function compared to those who ate the vegetables less frequently.
The Medical Center StudyThe study involved more than 950 seniors with an average age of 81 and evaluated their diets over a time span of between 2 and 10 years. The volunteers documented their beverage and food intake daily. They were then divided into two groups. One group ate one or two servings of leafy green vegetables daily, while the second group didn’t eat the vegetables as regularly. The scientists then determined the nutrient quantities each participant consumed daily. Each year, all subjects also underwent comprehensive testing that took into consideration gender, education level, smoking, level of physical activity, and genetic risk of Alzheimer’s. The group eating greens daily scored 50 percent higher than the other group. The researchers found that the adults who included daily servings of green leafy vegetables in their diets demonstrated the cognitive ability of individuals more than a decade younger. Eating leafy greens is just one of the many ways older adults can enjoy a high quality of life. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.
Diet MattersWhile researchers have long known that eating the right foods promotes better overall health, they now think following a proper diet can specifically protect cognitive health. The study also provided insight into why the Mediterranean diet enables older adults to enjoy physical and mental longevity. Green leafy vegetables are rich sources of beta-carotene, folic acid, lutein, and vitamins E and K1, which play a role in protecting delicate brain tissue from inflammation and cellular damage. Beta-carotene and folate have been known to prevent an abundance of homocysteine, which is responsible for inflammation, plaque buildup, and cognitive impairment. Vitamin E is known to protect cells from inflammation and damage, and vitamin K1 and other nutrients are now viewed as being beneficial. Some seniors need assistance with preparing nutritious meals. Des Moines home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Top Foods for Brain HealthResearchers believe it’s possible for seniors to gain the benefits of brain-protecting foods even if they start including them in their diets later in life. One serving per day consists of one cup of the desired vegetable, and it can be eaten raw or cooked. Prepackaged greens and other vegetables can easily be made into salads or smoothies. Greens aren’t the only brain-healthy foods. Some of the healthiest vegetables seniors should consider eating include:
- Arugula, romaine, red leaf, and butter lettuce
- Kale and spinach
- Collard and mustard greens
- Swiss chard
- Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
- Asparagus and avocados
- Carrots, celery, and cucumbers