(HealthDay News) — Intake of primary nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables is associated with slower cognitive decline, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in Neurology.

Martha Clare Morris, ScD, from Rush University in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 960 participants of the Memory and Aging Project, ages 58 to 99 years, who completed a food frequency questionnaire and had 2 or more cognitive assessments over a mean of 4.7 years.

The researchers found that consumption of green leafy vegetables was correlated with slower cognitive decline in a model adjusted for confounding variables; those in the highest quintile of intake (median 1.3 servings/day) had a decline rate that was β =.05 standardized units slower, equivalent to being 11 years younger in age. Individual associations with slower cognitive decline were seen for higher intakes of each of the nutrients and bioactives except β-carotene. The rates for the highest vs the lowest quintiles of intake in adjusted models were β =.02 for phylloquinone, β =.04 for lutein, β =.05 for folate, β =.02 for α-tocopherol, β =.04 for nitrate, β =.04 for kaempferol, and β =.02 for β-carotene, with the latter rate being nonsignificant.

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“Consumption of approximately one serving per day of green leafy vegetables and foods rich in phylloquinone, lutein, nitrate, folate, α-tocopherol, and kaempferol may help to slow cognitive decline with aging,” the authors write.


Morris MC, Wang Y, Barnes LL, et al. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology. 2017 Dec 20. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004815