Eating one serving a day of leafy salad veg can help preserve memory and cognitive skills, a new study has found.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago, used questionnaire responses from 960 elderly adults in retirement communities around the city, who had already been participating in annual cognitive tests.
They found that people who ate one serving of green, leafy vegetables had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than people who rarely or never ate them.
Resulted also suggested that older adults who ate at least one serving of leafy green vegetables showed an equivalent of being 11 years younger cognitively.
“Adding a daily serving of green leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to help promote brain health,” said study author Martha Clare Morris.
“The study results do not prove that eating green, leafy vegetables slows brain aging, but it does show an association,” she said, adding that the study “cannot rule out other possible reasons for the link.”
Respondents in the study, which was published in the American Academy of Neurology journal this week, had an average age of 81 and did not have dementia, and had thinking and memory skills tested every year for an average of 4.7 years.
The food frequency questionnaire assessed how often and how many half-cup servings they ate of spinach, kale or lettuce.
“There continue to be sharp increases in the percentage of people with dementia as the oldest age groups continue to grow in number. Effective strategies to prevent dementia are critically needed,” said Morris.