If you’re starting to wonder what nutritional New Year resolutions to make after a month of eating your weight in mince pies and yule logs, we’ve got just thing for you.
Rather than making outlandish, hard-to-keep promises, simply make sure you’re having at least one serving of kale, spinach or lettuce a day.
Why? Because green, leafy veg has been linked to slowing down brain ageing, according to a new study.
Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago has found that people who eat at least one serving a day have slower rates of decline on memory tests and thinking skills, compared to those who rarely eat these kinds of vegetables.
In fact, report author Martha Clare Morris, claims that the difference is the equivalent of being mentally 11 years younger.
The study looked at 960 people with an average age of 81 – none of whom had dementia – and followed them for almost five years.
Participants completed a questionnaire about how often they ate certain foods and had their thinking and memory skills tested every year during the period.
That questionnaire also asked how many serving people ate of cooked spinach, kale (half a cup = one serving) and raw lettuce (one cup = one serving).
Participants were then divided into five groups based on how often they ate the green, leafy vegetables. Those in the top group ate an average of 1.3 servings a day while the lowest group ate just 0.1 servings a day.
The results found that while participants’ scores on the thinking and memory tests declined over time, those who ate the leafiest greens delined slowest – the equivalent of being 11 years younger. And that’s even after accounting for other factors like obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.
‘Adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to foster your brain health,’ the study concludes.
‘Projections show sharp increases in the percentage of people with dementia as the oldest age groups continue to grow in number, so effective strategies to prevent dementia are critical.’
Pass the kale crisps!
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