Cognitive Ability

Eating Green Leafy Vegetables Keeps Mental Abilities Sharp

Food.Vegetables1Something as easy as adding more spinach, kale, collards and mustard greens to your diet could help slow cognitive decline, according to new research. The study also examined the nutrients responsible for the effect, linking vitamin K consumption to slower cognitive decline for the first time.

“Losing one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older,” said Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D., assistant provost for community research at Rush University Medical Center and leader of the research team. “Since declining cognitive ability is central to Alzheimer’s disease and dementias, increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

The researchers tracked the diets and cognitive abilities of more than 950 older adults for an average of five years and saw a significant decrease in the rate of cognitive decline for study participants who consumed greater amounts of green leafy vegetables. People who ate one to two servings per day had the cognitive ability of a person 11 years younger than those who consumed none.

In addition to green leafy vegetables, other good sources of vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene include brightly colored fruits and vegetables.

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Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). “Eating green leafy vegetables keeps mental abilities sharp.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2015.

Your Mentally Stimulating Job May Help Keep You Sharp in Retirement

Body.Brain.Puzzle1Jobs that make good use of your intellect might have another benefit down the line – a sharper mind long after retirement.

People with jobs that require problem solving, planning and information analysis appear more likely to retain a clear memory and keen reasoning as they grow older, said lead author Gwen Fisher, an assistant professor of psychology at Colorado State University.

“People who were engaged in work characterized as mentally challenging scored better on a measure of cognitive [thinking] ability, both before and after retirement,” Fisher said.

This new study adds to a growing mound of evidence suggesting that people who want to keep their brain healthy after retirement need to start working their mental muscles earlier in life, said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“It gels really nicely with other things we’ve seen where midlife is the point at which people really need to pay attention to their brain health,” Fargo said.

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Source: MedicineNet.


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