The brain is an important organ in the human body and needs to be well nourished in order for it to function properly. Eating a well-balanced diet which is low in cholesterol and low saturated diet is seen as being beneficial. But specifically, certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients can have a positive impact on brain health. One nutrient, known for its protective effect on eye health, has been proven to support the brain too.
This nutrient is known as lutein and is found in green vegetables.
So if you’re looking to boost your brain power, upping your greens might be the way to go, advises Holland & Barrett.
It explains: “Many contain a carotenoid called lutein, a type of plant pigment that gives fruits and vegetables their colour.
“Lutein has long been celebrated for its protective benefits on your eyes.
“Now, neuroscientists are exploring how lutein can be good for our brain too. Research by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found the nutrient is able to accumulate in brain tissue where it fixes itself to cell membranes and plays a protective role.”
So how exactly does lutein help brain health?
The high street health store says it can work against cognitive decline, boost memory and improve reactions.
Helps protect against cognitive decline
It says: “If you’re struggling to finish a crossword, getting more greens is a smart choice.
“In a 2017 study of adults aged 25-45, scientists found that older participants with higher levels of lutein in their diets had the same cognitive responses as younger volunteers when completing a task that tested their attention span.”
It explains: “According to a 2017 University of Georgia study, those who ate more lutein found memory-related tasks easier than those who ate less.
“Lutein can also help your brain retain particular information. The University of Illinois study found that consuming high levels of lutein helped to preserve what is known as ‘crystallised intelligence’ – the ability to remember skills you have acquired over your lifetime.”
It recommends: “Getting enough lutein in your daily diet can increase the speed at which your brain responds to something.
“In a 2014 study published in the journal PLOS One, scientists discovered that people who took a daily lutein supplement were able to react to visual information – what they saw in front of them – faster than those who did not.”
Lutein can be gained through diet, and the best food sources include spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli and pistachio nuts.