Daily Serving of Leafy Greens May Help Preserve Cognition

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Daily Serving of Leafy Greens May Help Preserve Cognition
Daily Serving of Leafy Greens May Help Preserve Cognition

TUESDAY, March 31, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A single serving of leafy green vegetables each day may help keep dementia away, new research suggests. The findings are scheduled to be presented at the Experimental Biology 2015 meeting, held from March 28 to April 1 in Boston.

The brain benefits associated with dark leafy greens likely stem from several key nutrients, particularly vitamin K, lead author Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D., of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, told HealthDay. The researchers "observed a protective benefit from just one serving per day of green leafy vegetables," which are known to be rich in vitamin K, added Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center.

For the study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, researchers focused on 954 men and women enrolled in Rush's Memory and Aging Project. Participants were 81 on average at the start, and three-quarters were women. Every year for almost five years on average, participants completed a 144-item food and beverage questionnaire and underwent 19 mental skill tests. In the end, each individual's nutrient intake was calculated based on the type and quantity of food consumed on a daily basis.

The team determined that those who routinely consumed one or two servings of leafy greens every day demonstrated the mental capacity of someone more than a decade younger, compared with those who never ate leafy greens. The findings held up even after accounting for gender, age, education, smoking history, exercise, and any heightened Alzheimer's risk (such as a family history).

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