A salad a day may keep memory problems away, study says

Thursday, 21 Dec, 2017

With a sharp rise in the number of people suffering from dementia, a new study has established a correlation between reduced memory loss and the addition of leafy greens in one's diet.

People who ate at least one serving daily "had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than people who never or rarely ate these vegetables", said the study.

Throughout the process, these elderly people had to fill out regular questionnaires about their diet and the rate of consumption of greens such as spinach, kale, collards and lettuce.

In fact, the measured difference between those who consumed leafy greens, such as spinach, and those who did not, was an impressive 11 years, measured in cognitive thinking.

The study looked at 960 people with an average age of 81 - none of whom had dementia - and followed them for nearly five years.

Participants were then divided into five groups based on how often they ate the green, leafy vegetables. Those in the top serving group consumed an average of almost 1.3 servings a day while those in the lowest serving group consumed an average of 0.1 servings a day.

Commenting on the findings of the study, the lead author and the author of a book "Diet for the MIND: The Latest Science on What to Eat to Prevent Alzheimer's and Cognitive Decline,", Dr. Martha Clare Morris said, that the benefits of slow cognitive decline is likely from the nutrient which is found in green vegetables like lutein, nitrate and folate, which are also associated with slow decline of cognitive functions.

Those in the top serving group ate an average of about 1.3 servings per day, while those in the lowest serving group ate on average 0.1 servings per day.

The scientists said this was equivalent to being 11 years younger in age.

Overall their performance on the thinking and memory tests declined over time at a rate of 0.08 standardised units per year.

These results persisted even after researchers accounted for factors like smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, education level and mental and physical exercise.

Morris also explained that the study does not provide evidence for consuming green, leafy vegetables to decelerate brain aging, but only shows a link.

Furthermore, she suggested that the results of the research may not apply for younger adults and for people of other races.