Leafy green veggies may help protect your brain from some of the effects of cognitive decline. So writes Melissa Healy, health and science reporter with the Los Angeles Times (melissa.healy@latimes) in her recent article, “Kale and other leafy vegetables may make your brain seem 11 years younger.”
Citing the work of Dr. Martha Morris, nutrition and brain health researcher at Rush Medical University in Chicago, Healy notes that “older people who ate at least one serving of leafy greens a day had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than did people who rarely or never ate these vegetables.” The results were conclusive, even when other age-related factors were taken into account.
The results are highly significant: When all other factors are held constant, after five years the difference in mental age between salad-eaters and non-salad eaters amounted to eleven years! One way to put this study in perspective is to compare standard measures of mental age—speed and flexibility of thinking, several types of memory—at 75 and at 86. In the later decades of life, this difference is hugely significant!
Scientific demurring aside—“One study doesn’t describe actionable truth”—the results of this research are consistent with what gerontologists and nutritionists have known for years: A healthy diet (or the lack thereof) affects more than our body’s various systems. Our brains and minds—the place where we know God—can remain healthy, useful and spiritually active as we live and eat in healthy ways.
What this study suggests might be profound for those of us who are approaching our older decades. Perhaps it’s time to revise our eating habits; to take seriously our girth, our appetites, our consumption of food and drink, our physical activities.
And chomp salads alongside our favorite senior citizens….!