New research suggests that eating a diet containing eggs, avocado, spinach and kale can reduce the rate of brain ageing.
Researchers from the University of Illinois discovered that people with higher levels of lutein had ‘younger’ brains. This follows previous research that linked lutein to a decreased risk of dementia.
This recent study looked at 60 adults between 25- and 45-years old, and found that participants with higher levels of lutein had cognitive function that was more similar to younger people than they were to their peers.
Naiman Khan, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois, said: “Now there’s an additional reason to eat nutrient-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs and avocados.
“We know these foods are related to other health benefits, but these data indicate that there may be cognitive benefits as well.”
The research stands out compared to previous studies as it used younger participants than any previously conducted, with much of the prior research focusing on older adults who had already experienced a period of decline.
Anne Walk, a postdoctoral scholar and first author of the paper, said: “As people get older, they experience typical decline.
“However, research has shown that this process can start earlier than expected. You can even start to see some differences in the 30s.
“We want to understand how diet impacts cognition throughout the lifespan.
“If lutein can protect against decline, we should encourage people to consume lutein-rich foods at a point in their lives when it has maximum benefit.”
The body is incapable of creating lutein by itself, so it must be obtained through consumption.
Walk said: “The neuro-electrical signature of older participants with higher levels of lutein looked much more like their younger counterparts than their peers with less lutein.
“Lutein appears to have some protective role, since the data suggest that those with more lutein were able to engage more cognitive resources to complete the task.”