Eating green leafy vegetables rejuvenates the brain by 11 years

Daily consumption of about one serving of green leafy vegetables is associated with a reduction in brain aging corresponding to a gain of 11 years, according to a prospective study.

With the increase in life expectancy and the aging of populations, the maintenance of cognitive abilities represents a major societal challenge. The decline in cognitive functions occurring with age, as well as the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, have no real treatment. On the other hand, the data relating to the importance of nutrition in the aging brain are multiplying. This is again the case with this prospective study conducted among 960 participants of the Memory and Aging Project, aged 58 to 99.

One serving of green leafy vegetables per day

Participants completed a food frequency at the start of the study and then underwent at least two cognitive function assessments during an average of 4.7 years of follow-up. The results, published in the journal Neurology, show that after adjusting for age, gender, education, participation in cognitive and physical activities, smoking, seafood and alcohol consumption; consumption of green leafy vegetables is associated with a significant reduction in cognitive decline. The authors estimate that a daily consumption of 1.3 servings of green leafy vegetables is associated with a brain that would be 11 years younger.

Other beneficial active ingredients for the brain

Alongside the amount of such vegetables ingested, the researchers also distinctly examined the relationship between cognitive decline and different nutrients and bioactive compounds, found in particular in these plants. To find that several of them also exhibit an inverse association with cognitive decline. These are phylloquinone, lutein, folate, alpha-tocopherol, nitrate and kaempferol. Beta-carotene showed no significant association.

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This study argues in favor of a place for these plants, alongside others, in a healthy and diversified diet for brain health.


Morris MC et al: Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline Prospective study. Neurology.2017.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.

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