Eating More Veggies -- Not Fruit -- Keeps Your Brain Young

Eating vegetables, but not fruits, can help slow the rate of mental decline in older adults. Researchers studied more than 3,700 Chicago seniors, who completed food frequency questionnaires and two or more cognitive tests over the course of  six years.

Those who ate 2.8 servings of vegetables a day or more slowed their rate of cognitive decline by roughly 40 percent, the equivalent of about five years. Green leafy vegetables had the strongest effect, and the older the person, the greater the slowdown in mental decline.

Fruit consumption was not associated with cognitive change, which may be due to the fact that vegetables contain higher amounts of vitamin E. Vegetables are also often consumed with fats such as salad dressings that increase the absorption of vitamin E.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

How frequently do you hear the media tell you to eat more fruits and vegetables? 

That is the common refrain and many people listen and eat the fruits and skip the vegetables. As I have said for many years now, this is not a wise choice.

Many have listened to this advice and are applying it, fully believing they are following a healthy diet. Unfortunately, for many people this simply isn't true. Although fruits can provide benefits, especially the skins and seeds of fruits, they are typically not as healthy as vegetables.

So don't be fooled by the confused messages.

The next time you hear someone encourage you to eat more fruits and vegetables, immediately shift it around and switch it to more vegetables and fruits, which is clearly the more technically correct statement.

Eating more vegetables is the key to reducing your brain's typical decline as you age. Vitamin E may be a factor, but it comes as no surprise that green leafy vegetables, high in folic acid, were the most effective natural foods of all. Folic acid is necessary in the synthesis of many important components of the nervous system, including:

    • Neurotransmitters
    • Myelin
    • Phosphatidylcholine

Additionallly, high levels of homocysteine in the blood have been associated with a decline in cognitive ability in the elderly. Homocysteine levels are known to rise when you are deficient in folic acid.

The trick about eating vegetables: Paying close to attention to your body's unique nutritional type to determine the type and amount. One easy way to consume the number of vegetables you need is to juice them.

There are valuable and sensitive micronutrients that are damaged when you heat foods. Cooking and processing food destroys these micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition. If you juice them instead, you will preserve the micronutrients and get their full health benefits.

There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your health program:

1. You probably have a compromised intestine. Most of us have compromised intestines as a result of less than optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body's ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables.

Juicing will help to "pre-digest" them for you so you will receive most of the nutrition rather than having it go down the toilet.

2. Depending on nutritional type, some people need to eat one pound of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight per day. Vegetable juicing allows you to accomplish this, as you can eat more vegetables than you would normally.

By incorporating the juice into your eating plan you will easily be able to reach this goal.

3. Nobody wants to eat that many salads. If you eat the vegetables like a salad then you will be having far too many salads. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food.

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