If you’re in the habit of consuming gobs and gobs of green leafy vegetables with the hope that you’ll be slimmer and healthier, you’ll be presently surprised to hear that research shows such a diet has an additional benefit. It helps protect the brain’s cognitive function according to a new study from the University of Illinois.
The study which observed 60 adults from ages 25 to 45 found that those with the highest levels of lutein in their bodies had neurological responses similar to those of young people. Lutein is found in kale, spinach, and also in avocado and eggs.
“Here’s an additional reason to eat foods rich in lutein like leafy vegetables avocado and eggs,” said Han Neiman the research team head. “We know that these foods have other health benefits but this study shows they have a cognitive benefit too.”
Lutein is a nutrient the body can’t produce and must acquire it through proper nutrition. It collects in the brain tissue and in the eyes which allows researchers to investigate lutein levels without invasive testing.
Most studies on lutein concentrated on seniors already suffering from some diminished cognitive function, but the University of Illinois team decided to focus on young and middle age adults to see of there would be a difference between someone with high lutein levels and someone with low lutein levels.
“We want to understand how nutrition influences cognitive function throughout life. If lutein prevents cognitive function loss we should encourage people to eat foods rich in lutein at the time that lutein will provide them with the maximum benefit,” say the researchers.