While most kids are told to eat their spinach and broccoli so they grow up strong, a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience suggests that these greens can significantly affect basic brain functions and intelligence later on.
Researchers at the University of Illinois have identified an important link between the consumption of lutein-rich foods and brain health in older adults. Lutein, a plant pigment prevalent in leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, accumulates in the brain over time, embedding in cell membranes and influencing certain neurological functions.
According to Marta Zamroziewicz, a University of Illinois graduate student who led the study, lutein plays "a neuroprotective role," and can be "linked to cognitive performance across the lifespan." While previous research has shown that lutein gathers in the gray matter of the brain "known to underlie the preservation of cognitive function in healthy brain aging," Zamroziewicz set out to determine the specific cognitive elements most affected by the plant pigment.