Green leafy vegetables slows cognitive decline by 11 years
(NaturalHealth365) Almost no one argues with the idea that veggies are good for your health. But with the growing popularity of functional medicine and the return to this concept of “food as medicine,” we’re seeing more and more research showing just how good vegetables are for your body and brain health.
Consider recent research published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology. In it, the researchers wanted to see the kind of effect daily consumption of green veggies – spinach, broccoli, kale, arugula and Brussels sprouts – would have on people’s brain health … and you’ll be pleased as green peas to see their results!
Eating green vegetables protect brain health, according to a promising study
The prospective study mentioned above involved 960 participants aged 58-99 years from a cohort known as the Memory and Aging Project. Investigators followed these subjects over a mean of 4.7 years and had them complete both food frequency questionnaires and cognitive assessments.
After analyzing the data, the authors discovered that the participants who reported the highest level of leafy green vegetable consumption had slowed their rate of cognitive decline by an average of 11 years compared to people who reported the lowest consumption of leafy greens.
This is consistent with other data, and suggests that the powerful antioxidant phytonutrients found in green veggies can protect and enhance brain function.
To be clear, eating vegetables isn’t some panacea for preventing dementia and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. In fact, we’ve talked about several other things you can do to maximize your brain health throughout your life, and especially as you age.
The simple takeaway, by the authors, is that the “consumption of approximately 1 serving per day of green leafy vegetables and foods rich in [phytonutrients] may help to slow cognitive decline with aging.”
Need more green in your life? Try these 5 tips for eating more vegetables
If you or your family members aren’t huge fans of veggies yet, believe us when we say it’s well worth the effort to start trying to change your own minds. The good news is, veggies can truly taste GREAT when prepared the right ways! Here are some handy tips for making the move toward a more plant-based diet:
- Be sure to lightly saute, roast, or steam your veggies. A lot of people don’t like eating vegetables raw so forgo them altogether. Additionally, many people can’t eat raw veggies because of a syndrome called oral allergy syndrome, that leaves them with an uncomfortable tingling in the mouth or even stomachache. This happens because of an allergic reaction to plant proteins that get broken down (denatured) when cooked, which is why cooked veggies are often more palatable. And while cooking may impair some nutrients, in other cases it may actually help your body absorb them better.
- Pair veggies with healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil or grass-fed butter to optimize taste. Plus, fat soluble vitamins in your leafy green veggies (like Vitamin A, E, and K) can be better absorbed when consumed with a fat.
- Mix in your veggies (and your kids’ veggies) into other recipes, like for a smoothie. You can also try cutting veggies into fun shapes, like crinkle cuts, to increase interest and texture.
- When you’re at the grocery store, allow your child to choose one or two veggies. By giving them a choice, you’re getting your children involved and excited about what they’re eating, which can help instill healthy habits for life. It’s also helpful to teach your children about veggies and how they help their bodies (using language that’s appropriate for their developmental stage).
- Call the drawer in the fridge where you hold your veggies and fruits the “snack” drawer. This further reinforces the idea that veggies are a great choice for the whole family.
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