A diet rich in vegetables may help prevent age-related mental decline. Investigator’s results show that vegetables, particularly spinach, may be beneficial in retarding age-related central nervous system and cognitive behavioral deficits.
Nutritional intervention with vegetables may play an important role in protecting against and possibly reversing the cognitive declines seen from aging. Vegetables are key sources of antioxidants, nutrients that disarm harmful molecules called free radicals.
Free radicals -- the undesirable byproducts of various metabolic functions -- damage cells.
Over time, this damage, called oxidative damage or oxidative stress, is believed to play a leading role in certain diseases and age-related changes. Although the body also produces antioxidants, over time, production declines.
The brain may be particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of free radicals because it is relatively deficient in antioxidants to begin with. Free radical destruction is thought to be a contributing factor to the decline in memory and motor performance seen in aging.
The Journal of Neuroscience October 1998;18.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Another reason to eat whole foods, not just supplements. Foods containing a variety of phytochemicals, including phytochemicals with antioxidant properties, offer greater protection than individual nutrients.
Thus, phytochemicals present in antioxidant rich foods, such as spinach, may be beneficial in retarding functional age-related central nervous system and cognitive behavioral deficits and, perhaps, may have some benefit in neurodegenerative disease.