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Leafy Green Vegetables Might Help Keep Dementia At Bay

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It’s a well-known fact that green, leafy vegetables are good for the health, but new research adds to the evidence, saying that the nutrients might help stave off dementia.

Researchers at Rush University and Tufts University studied 1,000 people and discovered that those who described eating one to two daily servings of green, leafy vegetables like lettuce, kale or spinach had slower rates of decline in memory and cognitive function, ABC News reports.

The participants in the study completed questionnaires on food frequency, answering how often they ate certain foods in the last year. The researchers then used the information to estimate levels of nutrients each person consumed. The participants also underwent annual tests to check their memories and cognitive functions.

The group that ate the most servings of leafy vegetables daily – an average of 1.3 servings – had a slower cognitive deterioration compared to those who only ate a few servings of vegetables. The effect was similar to being around 11 years younger, researchers stated.

The findings suggest that this benefit is likely caused by important nutrients found in vegetables, like folate, lutein and nitrate, according to Dr. Martha Clare Morris, lead author of the study and author of a new book “Diet for the MIND: The Latest Science on What to Eat to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Decline.”

These nutrients are able to protect against inflammation, stress and damage to the brain, as proven by earlier studies, the researchers said.

While the data is based on self-reported eating habits, which means there is a possible source of inaccuracy, the findings are promising for dementia. Dr. Gayatri Devi, a neurologist specializing in memory disorders at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said,

A healthy diet is good for your body.

Devi was not involved in the study.

Devis and Morris both advise against taking supplements, advocating for the real thing, instead. Devi said, “It’s just so much easier and safer to get them from nature.” There are no downsides to just eating vegetables. “There aren’t any drawbacks,” Morris stated.

The study was published in Neurology.

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