Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Leafy Greens Help Brains Stay Sharp as We Age

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Leafy Greens Help Brains Stay Sharp as We Age

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Folate, a B vitamin found in foods like leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits, may protect against cognitive decline in older adults. The research was conducted by scientists at the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A) Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

A team led by Katherine L. Tucker, Ph.D., at Tufts, studied a group of Boston-area men who were members of the ongoing Normative Aging Study. Dr. Tucker and her colleagues found that men who obtained more folate in their diets showed less of a decline in verbal fluency skills over the course of three years compared with men with lower dietary folate intakes.

High dietary and plasma folate levels also appeared to be protective against declines in another category of cognitive skills known as spatial copying. To test this, the participants (50 to 80 years of age) were asked to copy various shapes and figures. Their drawings were then assessed for accuracy.

The men took a series of cognitive tests at the beginning of the study period and then repeated those tests three years later. The researchers compared their first and second scores and reviewed their responses to dietary questionnaires. …

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