By: Information sourced from Science Daily
Those of you who've been on The Greengrocer's Dietfor some time may notice that they're mentally sharper than they used to be because it seems that the daily green smoothies don't just set you up for a day of good eating habits in the morning and take the edge of hunger in the afternoon they also help you to stay cognitively fit. According to a study from the University of Illinois, lutein - a nutrient found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, helps prevent cognitive decline which typically occurs through aging.
The study which included 60 adults aged 25 to 45, found that middle-aged participants with higher levels of lutein, found in leafy greens, as well as avocados and egg, had neural responses that were more on par with younger individuals than with their peers.
Lutein is a nutrient that the body can't make on its own, so it must be acquired through diet. It accumulates in brain tissues as well as in the eye which enabled researchers to measure levels of lutein without relying on invasive techniques. The researchers measured lutein accumulation in the participants' eyes by asking them to look into a scope and respond to a flickering light. Then, using electrodes on the scalp, the researchers measured neural activity in the brain while the participants performed a task that tested attention.
The neuro-electrical signature of older participants with higher levels of lutein looked much more like their younger counterparts than their peers with less lutein. It appears that plays a some protective role as the data suggest that those with more lutein were able to engage more cognitive resources to complete the task."
Science daily and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dietary Sources of Lutein
|nasturtium (yellow flowers, lutein levels only)||45,000|
|nasturtium (leaves, lutein levels only)||13,600|
|Swiss chard (raw or cooked)||11,000|
|garden peas (raw)||2,593|
|romaine lettuce ||2,312|
|egg (hard boiled)||353|
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