The super salad six (and then some) that saves your brain

The importance of eating dark, leafy green vegetables is something you’ve heard me talk about before…

The chlorophyll that makes them green fights cancer, heals wounds and detoxifies the liver.

That’s why leafy greens are a central part of both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

A Mediterranean-style diet is a great way to keep your heart healthy, your bones strong and your waistline trim. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) also depends on eating plenty of veggies.

But I think it’s fair to say that, as older adults, we fear a decline in our cognitive health more than anything.

The thought of deteriorating into dementia and Alzheimer’s and losing both our memories and our ability to function is terrifying.

As with many health issues, what we eat may very well be the deciding factor in whether we retain our mental faculties as we age.

In fact, there is a diet that was designed specifically with the aging brain in mind.

The MIND diet: the best of the best

The MIND diet combines the best of the Mediterranean diet, aimed at improving heart health, and the DASH diet, designed specifically to control hypertension.

MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It was designed by researchers who wanted to create a diet specifically meant to improve brain health.

The MIND diet consists of ten types of food. And heading the list is, you guessed it, those dark, leafy greens.

A twelve-year study involving over 1200 people found that the MIND diet beat the Mediterranean diet by 19% when it came to preventing mild cognitive impairment.

A more recent study has zeroed in on exactly which nutrients in those greens are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping your brain sharp.

Peak PS

It’s a mouthful, but Phosphatidylserine, or PS for short, is a nootropic that promotes brain health, memory, clarity, reasoning and comprehension. This nutrient is a key building block for the cells in your brain, that scientific literature has shown can… MORE⟩⟩

6 “green” nutrients that fight cognitive decline

A 2018 study looked at 960 people ages 58 to 99, who had been part of the Memory and Aging Project at Rush University.

Martha Clare Morris, a professor of epidemiology at Rush, led a team of researchers who found that eating at least a serving a day of greens containing the following six nutrients could slow cognitive decline significantly.

  1. Phylloquinone (also known as vitamin K1) is the most common form of vitamin K and is found primarily in green leafy vegetables. A French study known as the CLIP study (Cognition and LIPophilic vitamins) determined that higher dietary phylloquinone was associated with stronger cognitive abilities among older adults.
  2. This antioxidant is usually associated with strengthening your vision. But in one study, middle-aged adults (age 25 to 45) who consumed more lutein via green vegetables had cognitive strengths similar to younger adults.
  3. The natural nitrates found in greens (not the chemical ones found in processed meats) are good for your muscles. Research also suggests that they increase blood flow to areas of the brain involved with executive functioning (planning and executing of tasks and decision making). The nitrates help you body create nitric oxide which is a boon for circulation.
  4. Dr. Morris of the Rush University study points out that a lack of folate in your diet could cause elevated levels of homocysteine, a naturally occurring amino acid that, at excessive levels, causes cognitive impairment by interfering with the way your brain uses oxygen.
  5. Vitamin E. People with Alzheimer’s disease are often found to have low levels of vitamin E in their cerebrospinal fluid. This has suggested to researchers that getting enough vitamin E could delay the onset of the disease.
  6. This flavonoid is thought to increase levels of glutathione, the master antioxidant that controls inflammation, including the inflammation that causes Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Peak Organic Femented Beets

It may not be a household word, but nitric oxide has been recognized in over 130,000 published scientific papers as a vital signaling molecule that keeps blood vessels healthy and blood pressure in the healthy range. But as you age, your cells produce less and… MORE⟩⟩

Salad “add-ins” that can boost your brain power

There are plenty of ways to build a salad. By including these “add-ins,” you can provide even more protection for your brain.

Avocados and eggs are rich in lutein. And eggs can help create a super salad with a 400 percent nutrient boost.

Broccoli, green beans and chicken are great sources of Vitamin K.

For a folate-rich salad, start with Swiss chard and arugula, and add some celery,  basil or beets.

Beets can also do wonders for your nitric oxide production!

Adding nuts and seeds to your salad will enrich it with vitamin E.

For kaempferol and other flavonoids, apples are a great add-in.

And finally, here’s a list of 16 nitrate-rich vegetables that can be combined for a nutritious, delicious salad!

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!

Sources:

  1. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive declineNeurology
  2. Eating Leafy Greens Each Day Tied to Sharper Memory, Slower Decline — NPR
  3. Dietary Vitamin K Intake Is Associated with Cognition and Behaviour among Geriatric Patients: The CLIP StudyNutrients
  4. The Role of Retinal Carotenoids and Age on Neuroelectric Indices of Attentional Control among Early to Middle-Aged AdultsFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
  5. Acute effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adultsNitric Oxide
  6. Vitamin E in neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer’s diseaseAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.