Kale & Cognition

Yes, I am back onto the benefits of our foods once again; the reason this time is because researchers have found that a nutrient called Lutein, found in avocados, kale, spinach and eggs may be beneficial in rejuvenating cognitive functions. Surely this has to to be beneficial to us as stroke survivors.

Medical News Today has recently reported on Lutein’s role in reducing inflammation in heart disease. The University of Georgia in Athens has identified an additional benefit that Lutein has the ability to counteract cognitive aging. Lead researcher Dr. Animal A. Khan, of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois, along with his colleagues published their findings in the journal Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience.

They stressed that previous studies referred to elderly adults, but they wanted to take a different approach, starting from the premise that it begins earlier in life. Some differences can be noticed as early as in our 30’s. With this in mind, 60 adult participants were gathered aged between 25 and 45 with the aim being to see what effect, if any, Lutein’s intake can have on cognition. If it is found to be beneficial, people should be encouraged to eat Luteins rich foods when it has maximum benefit.

The neural activity in the brain was measured by electrodes attached to the scalp. This would measure their level of attention and ability to ignore irrelevant stimuli during each task. Dr. Khan discovered that participants who exhibited higher levels of Lutein’s were cognitively more similar to younger individuals than those of similar age who had consumed lower levels of Lutein. Those with more Lutein were able to engage more cognitive resources to complete the tasks.

This study’s focus was purely on attention, but the researchers would like to understand its effects too on memory – as would I –  and learning.  It would also be wonderful to know if by assisting with memory, whether or not it would aid our difficulties with neurological fatigue.

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