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Vegetables help keep minds sharp

Consumption of fruits and vegetables might help people to keep their minds sharp into old age.

Vegetables help keep minds sharp

Consumption of fruits and vegetables might help people to keep their minds sharp into old age. Green leafy vegetables and certain other vegetables are good sources of vitamin E, which may help maintain memory and thinking ability later in life. Also, unlike fruit, vegetables are often eaten with salad dressings or prepared with oils. These fats, help the body absorb vitamin E, as well as other antioxidant compounds found in vegetables, like carotenoids and flavonoids. Researchers from the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago analysed more than 3,700 older adults for six years, they found that those who ate plenty of vegetables showed a significantly slower rate of decline in memory and other mental abilities. The researchers analysed 3,718 adults aged 65 years and older who completed dietary questionnaires and standard tests of memory and other cognitive abilities at the start of the study. They repeated the tests three and six years later. It was found that vegetable lovers had a slower rate of mental decline over the study period, taking other factors into account, including age, race, education and lifestyle habits such as smoking and exercise. Compared with men and women who ate the fewest vegetables - typically less than a serving a day, those who ate around three servings or more per day had a 40 percent slower rate of decline on tests of cognitive function. Fruit intake was unrelated to mental performance. The findings suggest that something about vegetables, such as their concentration of certain nutrients, makes them particularly effective in preserving mental sharpness into old age. Even if certain nutrients in vegetables are responsible for the benefits, it's better to eat the natural food than take dietary supplements.
Neurology,
October 2006
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