That spinach Popeye slugged down at the end of every cartoon was actually doing more than giving him bizarrely muscular forearms. If recent research involving the anti-aging properties of spinach is right, he must have had one helluva memory.
A 2008 study of more than 3,500 Chicago-area senior citizens showed that eating at least 2.8 servings of vegetables a day can slow the rate of cognitive decline by as much as 40% – making the rate of decline about the same as that experienced by people five years younger.
Spinach turned out to be the top memory booster, though all green leafy vegetables (which are high in antioxidant properties) were highly effective.
Green leafies not your thing? Then go for the most colorful produce you can find, since foods with the highest antioxidant activity are generally the most colorful.
The Chicago study confirms animal studies that showed spinach to be a potent tool against brain aging. The animal research found that feeding large amounts of spinach to aging lab animals resulted in improved motor skills and learning capacity.
Surprisingly, the Chicago study didn’t see the same level of improvement when participants’ diets included increased servings of fruit. However while its possible that increasing the intake of certain vegetables is particularly effective in slowing cognitive decline, upping the consumption of any antioxidant-rich food is almost certainly beneficial.
University of California research indicates that purple fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes, may be especially beneficial for the brain, and compounds found in apples, strawberries, and even curry spice activate neural pathways and enhance memory.
Even if your memory is already great, there are lots of reasons to add spinach to your diet; this is one veggie that packs some serious nutritional punch. Research has identified more than a dozen spinach flavinoids that function as antioxidants and have anti-cancer potential.
Vitamin K, which is abundant in spinach, is essential to maintaining bone strength and is considerred important to the prevention of bone diseases like osteoporosis. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which can help prevent cholesterol-related heart and circulatory problems.
The nutrient combo in spinach has proven to be beneficial to conditions that involve inflammatory problems, including asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Spinach is an outstanding source of dietary iron, which is crucial for metabolism and energy production. Iron is integral to the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also a necessary component of key enzyme systems.