Dark Leafy Greens Unjustly Pigeonholed By Hippies:
When we talk about something in only one context, that can get stuck in our brains.
For example when it comes to staying healthy as you age, most people think of prescription meds and light walking.
Getting fit before you get “old” is where people usually hear about Exercise.
Most people get information about nutrition only for Weight-Loss,
And you never hear about it concerning Health Quality-Level long-term.
Well Martha Clare Morris’ team set out to find how you can benefit even-more from that under-researched aspect, and the results are stupefying…
Your Mom Was Right!:
And it all starts with what your Mom always told you: Eat Your Vegetables!
Although it’s probably a wise idea to get a good variety of them, Martha’s team looked at some of the ones recommended by micronutrient-superstar Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
Dark, Leafy Greens.
And what they did was to survey almost 1,000 participants who were all at an age when one form of cognitive-decline may have set-in.
Nutrition Vs. Cognitive-Decline:
However, for this test group, none of them were yet diagnosed with Dementia.
They then had their diets and thinking/memory-skills tracked for about 5 years.
At the high end, some subjects ate about 1.3 servings of greens a day.
Others had almost none, at about 0.1 a day.
And then after 10 years of tracking, their cognitive scores came in.
And believe it or not, just one component of their diet seemed to make a pretty big difference.
Guess What Food Kept Their Brains Young:
The group that ate the most greens each day ended up with significantly-less cognitive-decline as time went on.
-Almost 50% less cognitive-decline versus the non-greenies.
And right now, it’s looking like Kale, Spinach, & Collard-Greens were mostly responsible for the difference.
The funny thing is, Dr. Joel Fuhrman has been telling people for years to eat 1 big salad every day of their life, and that’s what one of the study-subjects figured-out all on her own.
Get Your Micronutrients From 1 Big Salad A Day:
And this study suggests that all of Joel’s talk about micronutrients really is correct.
Specifically, one of the most-plentiful nutrients in dark leafy greens is Folate.
And if you have enough, it can help you avoid all kinds of inflammation, especially from excess homocystiene.
The other bit is something Dr. Neal Barnard talked about: The fire-extinguisher for the brain.
Neal discussed that when you get iron or copper in your diet, many times it can make its way into the brain & short-circuit some of your brain-cells.
Inflammation And Fire-Extinguishers:
The fire-extinguisher he talked about for fixing these issues was Vitamin E.
But the big problem is that you MUST get Vitamin E from food, because it releases slowly and at low-doses.
Studies have shown that supplement-pills for it only give you 1 of the 8 different types,
And they have proven dangerous at-least to men’s health, with a 17% increase in prostate-cancer.
We don’t really know the full-effects of getting your vitamin E in supplements for everyone.
And wouldn’t you know it, another one of the things you get in very trace amounts from leafy greens?
Dark Leafy Greens Benefit Your Brain Health With More Than Just Vitamins:
Now to make sure this is clear, right now this study only shows Correlation.
-But a previous study from 2005 shows similar results, too.
And to add to the evidence, another nutrient associated with Dementia not mentioned in any of the study articles or previous posts is,
Deficiencies and excesses of Magnesium are also associated with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Guess what common salad-greens also have sizable amounts of Magnesium?
Bad News, Jim Gaffigan! It’s Spinach and Kale!:
For Example, 3.5oz of Spinach has:
13% of your daily Vitamin E, 22% of your daily Magnesium, and 49% of your daily Folate needs. (based on the USRDA)
Kale is similar in proportions, but has just about 10% less of each.
And while the other micronutrients have either unknown or small effects on cognitive-decline,
That of Magnesium is established and its presence in these apparent brain-saving greens cannot be discounted.
Diet-Studies Are Hard, But The Evidence Is Stacking-Up:
Either way, dietary studies are extremely-tough to run, because it’s hard to get people to eat in exacting ways.
And in the current one, there might also be several co-factors in the subjects’ lifestyles that add to the effects of diet choices.
But when you look at how many of the fantastically brain-healthy vitamins & micronutrients come your way when you get your greens,
The mass of evidence becomes increasingly hard to ignore.
And honestly, there isn’t much downside for your brain-health to getting a big salad with spinach, kale or other dark leafy greens in it every single day.
Photo Credits: “Salad”, by Moon Rabbit Urban Farm
• Source: Rush University
• Source Study: PubMed – Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study
• Previous Studies:
• PubMed – Fruit and vegetable consumption and cognitive decline in aging women
• PubMed – Cognitive impairment is associated with elevated serum homocysteine levels among older adults
• PubMed – Effects of Vitamin E on Cognitive Performance during Ageing and in Alzheimer’s Disease