The Cottages Blog

Eat Your Green Vegetables to Improve Cognition

Posted by Regina Lawler on Dec 5, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Carotenoids are chemicals that are naturally found in many plants that we eat, like root vegetables, peppers, and oranges. There are many different types of carotenoids, but a few studies have focused on two specific ones, lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z), which are found in dark, leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach. Not only are L and Z good for your eyesight, but studies have found that they may improve cognitive function in seniors as well.

In one study, researchers asked 43 seniors between the ages of 65 and 86 to learn and remember different pairs of words that were not related while their brain functions were being measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The participants’ L and Z levels were determined by looking at their eyes. The amount of macular pigment optical density in the retina was measured. Researchers found that the participants who had increased levels of both L and Z had better memory function and higher verbal fluency. Those participants with the higher levels of L and Z showed lower brain activity during memory tasks, which meant they did not have to work as hard to complete a memory task.

Because of these findings, researchers stress the importance of eating dark green vegetables later in life. Sometimes it can feel hard to eat healthy as we grow older, but seniors should make sure that they continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet in order to maintain their cognitive abilities as much as possible.


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Regina Lawler

Written by: Regina Lawler

Regina Lawler, Resident Services Director, has worked at Country Cottage since the first day the doors opened. She began as a Homemaker before being quickly promoted to Coordinator and then to Resident Services Director. Regina feels she has found her “place in life” and says “I will be here long after I’m old enough to be one of the residents. I love my residents as if they were my own family.” Regina has her Assisted Living Administrator’s License and Assisted Living Federation Association’s National Lifetime Administrative Certificate. Regina grew up in the Mount Hebron Community and attends North Russellville Baptist Church. She has been married to Perry Lawler for 32 years and has one son. In her spare time, she enjoys walking and cross-stitching.