Wellness

Vegetables that protect the brain from cognitive decline

Lutein and zeaxanthin, pigments which mainly give their green color to certain vegetables, improve the memory of seniors. According to a study conducted by the University of Georgia, foods or dietary supplements containing these pigments strengthen and improve the cognitive functioning of the elderly.

As we age, a natural and inevitable process of decline takes place in the brain. Cognitive abilities can, however, be kept up to date thanks to the compensatory faculties of the brain. It is important to find a way to slow down this process of decline to allow older people to maintain their functional independence.

We already know that lutein and zeaxanthin have a beneficial effect on the eyes and cognitive functions of the elderly. The University of Georgia study shows for the first time what the underlying neural mechanism is in the relationship between cognition and lutein and zeaxanthin.

A brain that works better

The research team from the University of Georgia studied the effect of lutein and zeaxanthin on the brain activity of elderly people (65 to 86 years old). Participants had to memorize a series of randomly chosen words and be able to remember them later. Brain activity was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and along with this, component values ​​were measured in blood plasma. A measurement of the eye was then carried out by photometry.

The results clearly show that participants with higher lutein and zeaxanthin values ​​had to resort to less brain activity to perform their task, unlike participants with lower scores. This means that they use their cognitive functions better and are therefore more efficient from a “neural” point of view.

Changing dietary habits or adding supplements to increase the amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, already known to protect the eyes, can also help combat cognitive decline in the elderly.

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Vegetables richest in lutein and zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are pigments with antioxidant properties that give foods their colors. Dark green vegetables (green cabbage, spinach, green squash, broccoli) contain the most lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies indicate that the egg markedly increases the concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin in the retina, which may have a protective effect against macular degeneration

Source

Linbergh CA et al. Relationship of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Levels to Neurocognitive Functioning: An fMRI Study of Older Adults. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. DOI: 10.1017/S1355617716000850

[HighProtein-Foods.com]

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