Can Eating Leafy Greens Impact Cognitive Health?

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Leafy green vegetables are healthy, but modern scientific research is showing just how helpful these vegetables really are. A recent study found that leafy greens may be able to reduce a senior’s rate of cognitive decline. Here’s what you need to know about the link between leafy greens and cognitive health. 

Research Findings on How Greens Boost Cognitive Health

A 2018 study published in the journal Neurology followed 960 seniors between the ages of 58 and 99. Over the course of roughly five years, the researchers asked the seniors about their food intake and had them take some cognitive assessment tests. After adjusting for age, smoking habits, gender, exercise habits, and many other factors, the researchers found that those who ate more leafy greens had lower rates of cognitive decline. Test subjects who ate at least 1.3 servings of leafy greens per day had brains as healthy as people 11 years younger. 

Eating leafy greens is just one of the many ways older adults can enjoy a high quality of life. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home care families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.

How Leafy Greens Protect the Brain

Leafy green vegetables protect the brain from the effects of aging in several ways. They contain high levels of vitamin K and antioxidants that increase blood circulation to the brain and protect it from inflammation and damage. Leafy green vegetables also assist in removing the toxic proteins that can cause plaque buildup in the brain. Because the effects of leafy green vegetables are cumulative, they seem to do a better job of boosting cognitive health if they’re eaten for years. 

Cognitive decline isn’t the only health issue older adults are susceptible to. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Tucson families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

The Ideal Amount of Leafy Greens to Eat

One of the particularly interesting finds in the study involved the amount of leafy greens the seniors ate. Those who had a small intake of leafy greens had mild protection from cognitive decline, while those who ate more leafy greens were better protected. The largest intake in the study, which was 1.3 servings of vegetables a day, offered the highest benefits. It appears there’s no age limit as to when cognitive protection starts to slow. At least one serving of leafy green vegetables a day is recommended, but it may be even more helpful to eat multiple servings a day. 

The Best Leafy Greens to Consume

According to the research published in Neurology, the most helpful vegetables are ones that include phylloquinone, lutein, nitrate, folate, α-tocopherol, and kaempferol. These nutrients and beneficial compounds are mostly found in spinach, kale, and collard greens. Seniors can also get smaller amounts of essential nutrients by eating lettuce, arugula, chard, cabbage, and asparagus. You can turn these greens into salads, sides, soup ingredients, or green shakes, so it’s easy to increase your loved one’s leafy green intake. 

From preparing nutrient-dense meals to exercising regularly, seniors may need help with several tasks. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Tucson, Arizona, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (520) 276-6555 today.


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