Scientists at Rush University in Chicago analyzed the diet and cognitive prowess of about 950 older people every year between two and 10 years.
Participants in the study had an average age of 81 years, had joined 19 tests to determine their mental function, and asked them to identify the foods and drinks in their diet featured on a list of 144 items.
Those participants who ate leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale once or twice a week showed less cognitive decline compared to those who did not, even after other factors such as education, exercise level, and family history as dementia were considered.
On average, people who ate greens stopped their mental decline by an average of 11 years, according to researchers.
The findings were published at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston.
Martha Clare Morris, lead researcher for the study, said: “Losing one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older. Since declining cognitive ability is central to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”
Morris also added that the range of eating leafy greens has as probable cause the high levels of vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene.