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Less Brain Decline Among Veg-Eating Seniors In One Clinical Study

Want to stay smarter longer? Keep eating your veggies. New research confirms that seniors who eat more vegetables have significantly less age-related cognitive decline.

Researchers at Rush University collected dietary data from 3,718 adults 65 and older administering memory tests over the course of 6 years. It turned out that those who ate more than four servings (that’s two cups) of vegetables had a 38% decrease in the rate of mental deterioration compared to those who ate less than one serving (half a cup) of vegetables per day.

These findings constitute yet more proof of the protective potential of produce, following on the heels of Harvard research in which women who ate more leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables improved their odds of maintaining mental acuity. Particular greens, like spinach, may even be able to reverse cognitive decline.

The high level of nutrients in vegetables helps protect your brain — but the low level of calories may be of benefit too: Obesity doubles the risk of developing dementia. This might be because the same habits that hurt the heart may also subvert your cerebral power. For example, the high-fat diet that translates into arterial cholesterol build-up may also block blood flow to the brain.

Published July 1, 2007

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