Turnip greens are cruciferous vegetables that belong to the same family as kale and broccoli. Turnip greens refer to the dark leafy green tops of turnips which are often discarded. However, they are completely edible and, in fact, are among the healthiest vegetables you can eat.
In terms of the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI), which is a measure of the vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient density of foods relative to their calorie content, turnip greens are among the highest-ranking foods, together with some of other cruciferous vegetables. This means that turnip greens are packed with powerful nutrients but are low in calories, as previously noted. Here Joanne Washburn, Food.news, reflects on lutein in leafy greens may help prevent cognitive decline:
“Here’s a secret to healthy aging: Eat more green leafy vegetables.
That’s according to researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Georgia, who found that lutein, an antioxidant found in leafy greens, may protect against cognitive aging.
The researchers arrived at this finding after measuring the levels of lutein in the study participants’ eyes. Lutein accumulates in brain tissues, as well as in the eyes. This allows researchers to easily measure lutein levels.
The researchers wanted to know whether people with high lutein levels differed from people with low lutein levels when it comes to brain aging.
Lutein can help counter cognitive aging
Lutein belongs to a group of plant pigments called carotenoids. It’s one of two carotenoids found in our eyes. Lutein is thought to function as a light filter, protecting our eyes from sunlight damage. Our bodies don’t naturally create lutein, so we need to get it from certain foods, such as leafy greens, peas and squash.
In the brain, lutein is thought to protect against free radical damage, which may trigger or worsen cognitive aging. The researchers wanted to understand how diet affects cognition and whether lutein can protect against cognitive decline. To that end, they gathered 60 adults between the ages of 25 and 45 and measured lutein levels in their eyes. To do so, they asked the participants to look into a scope and respond to a flickering light.
The researchers then attached electrodes to the participants’ scalps and had them perform a task that tested attention. This allowed the researchers to analyze neural activity in their brains, which is linked to cognition.
The results showed that older participants with high levels of lutein had neural responses that were more on par with younger participants than with their peers with lower levels of lutein.”
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