You already know that spinach and kale are two top foods to eat if you want to stay physically fit. But new research by the University of Illinois suggests that these two greens can also keep you cognitively fit and stave off Alzheimer's disease…
According to the researchers behind the study, it's a nutrient known as lutein that's contained in spinach and kale that give them their Alzheimer's disease-fighting powers. For the full findings, read on…
New study finds that lutein – a nutrient found in spinach in kale – can stave off Alzheimer’s disease in young to middle-aged adults
To reach their findings, the researchers looked at 60 young to middle-aged adults between 25 and 45. They found that those with higher levels of lutein – a nutrient found in leafy greens such as spinach and kale as well as eggs and avocado – had neural responses that were on par with the younger adults in the study.
The researchers published their findings in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
“Now there's an additional reason to eat nutrient-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs and avocados,” said Naiman Khan, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the Unversity of Illinois. “We know these foods are related to other health benefits, but these data indicate that there may be cognitive benefits as well.”
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Previous studies have looked at the Alzheimer’s disease-fighting effects of lutein in older adults
Khan explained that previous research has largely focused on the Alzheimer’s disease-fighting effects of lutein in older adults after there’s already been a period of cognitive decline
. The researchers behind this new study chose to focus on young to middle-aged adults instead to see if there was a noteworthy difference between those with higher lutein levels.
“As people get older, they experience typical decline. However, research has shown that this process can start earlier than expected. You can even start to see some differences in the 30s,” said Anne Walk, a postdoctoral scholar and first author of the paper. “We want to understand how diet impacts cognition throughout the lifespan. If lutein can protect against decline, we should encourage people to consume lutein-rich foods at a point in their lives when it has maximum benefit.”
The bottom line? If you want to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, make sure you’re getting enough of these favourite leafy greens in your diet!
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