Green leafy goodness

| Post published on May 29, 2017
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A pioneering study shows that leafy greens can slow down cognitive decline with aging

Green leafy vegetables contain many nutrients and natural compounds that are thought to be health-beneficial and have the potential to protect our tissues from damage. As a part of the Memory and Aging Project, the scientific team studied 960 participants, their food intake and cognitive abilities over several years. These quantities were used as examples of one serving of green leafy vegetables: half a cup cooked spinach, half a cup of cooked kale/collards/greens or one cup of raw lettuce/salad leaves.

The results showed that consumption of green leafy vegetables was significantly associated with slower cognitive decline. People consuming just over one serving a day had remarkably better cognitive skills – so much so that the researchers quantified this as being 11 years younger in age!

Further investigation of the nutrients found in green leafy vegetables indicated that higher food intakes of folate, phylloquinone and lutein were each associated with slower cognitive decline and appeared to account for the protective effect of these vegetables.

Morris MC et al., 2017. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology. DOI: [Epub ahead of print].

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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