Eat Veggies, To Improve Brain Functions
Moneylife Digital Team 16 January 2018
According to a new research report, one daily serving of green leafy vegetables would help you achieve cognitive abilities similar to those over a decade younger in age. The chemicals in the vegetables that do this trick are: vitamin K, lutein, nitrate and folate. Vegetables that have vitamin K are: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage; lutein is available in spinach, carrots and red and yellow peppers; for nitrate, go for beets, lettuce, radishes and spinach; and, for folate, choose dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach and dried legumes such as chickpeas, beans and lentils. 
 
An article in the journal Neurology emphasises that these nutrients help in neuro-protective mechanisms. According to the researchers working in Rush University of Chicago, the rate of cognitive decline is “linearly associated with higher food intakes of folate, phylloquinone, and lutein.” Other compounds supposed to boost brain functions include turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids available in certain kinds of fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.
 
Eating green leafy vegetables has long been identified as one of the most effective and simplest method for protecting against all sorts of diseases including the decline in cognitive abilities. An aging population across the developed world has brought into limelight the challenge of aging healthily. There is increased focus on solutions to maintain and improve physical and mental functions of the elderly. 
 
The researchers took 960 participants from the “Memory and Aging Project” aged between 58–99 years, for the study. The group that consumed green leafy vegetables had slower cognitive decline. The rate of decline among those who consumed one or two servings per day was the equivalent of being 11 years younger compared with those who rarely, or never, consumed green leafy vegetables.
 
UK Doctors Want Junk Food Banned in Hospitals 
While Indian doctors rarely bother themselves with diet, ever happy to prescribe pills and perform surgeries, Britain’s doctors have backed calls for hospitals to stop selling junk food anywhere on their premises such as shops, cafés and vending machines. Some 500 delegates at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual conference have overwhelmingly passed a motion, moved by celebrity cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, urging hospitals to sell only healthy products. Dr Malhotra, a cardiologist and anti-obesity campaigner, argued that it was obscene for places that promote health to also have fast-food outlets on site. The campaign was supported by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which represents all 220,000 doctors of the UK. 
 
 
Dr Malhotra, a cardiologist at London’s Royal Free hospital, told delegates: “It is appalling to observe on ward rounds patients, some of whom are not fully mobile, gorging on crisps, confectionery and sugary drinks—the very food items that may have contributed to their admissions in the first place. It is obscene that many hospitals continue to have high street fast-food franchises on site as well as corridors littered with vending machines selling junk food.”
 
However, the NHS Confederation, which represents the hospitals, opposes the plan. Its director of policy, Dr Johnny Marshall, was quoted as saying that existing food outlets in hospitals are ‘highly valued’ by patients, their families and hospital staff,and most sell healthy products too. It is also unfair and unrealistic to deny patients the right to buy sweets to cheer themselves up, he argued. The BMA conference also urged government to extend initiatives involving free fruit and vegetables 
in schools to all primary-age children.
 
Ban Energy Drinks for Kids – Jamie Oliver
Meanwhile, UK celebrity chef and health campaigner, Jamie Oliver, has called on the UK government to ban energy drink sales to children under 16 years of age. Already, supermarket chain, Waitrose, has announced that customers buying high caffeine energy drinks must show proof that they are over 16. According to Jamie Oliver’s campaign, 69% of children, aged 10-18, report drinking energy drinks; 13% admitted to drinking more than a litre in one sitting. Mr Oliver has also been campaigning for the introduction of a sugar tax in the UK. 
 
 
Energy drinks are stimulating beverages which have caffeine (80mg in a 250ml can), taurine, vitamins, plus a high level of sugar (27.5gm total sugar in a 250ml can). In September 2017, the Canadian Paediatric Society labelled the beverages as ‘unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst’. Jamie Oliver’s head of nutrition, Laura Matthews, said: “Some schools are fighting their own battle against these drinks, by banning them on the premises. But schools can only do so much on their own. We need the government to legally age-restrict the sale of energy drinks, in the same way that scratch cards are only sold to over-16s.”
Lithuania and Latvia have banned sales of energy drinks to those under 18.
 
Can a High Dose of Vitamin D Reduce Stiff Arteries?
In a small randomised controlled trial (RCT) of vitamin D-deficient obese, conducted by Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, overweight African-Americans, having vitamin D improved arterial stiffness in just 16 weeks. A higher dose led to better outcome, with the highest vitamin D dose of 4,000 international units (IU) per day inducing a 10.4% reduction in arterial stiffness. This is the first RCT to identify a dose-dependent benefit of vitamin D on arterial stiffness, although a previous study of 2,000 IU/day had established improved arterial stiffness in African-American adolescents.
 
 
The RCT had 70 participants aged 13-45 years and were given either a placebo, or the monthly equivalent of daily vitamin D3 doses of 600, 2,000, or 4,000 IU per day. The 2,000 IU/day group improved arterial stiffness by 2%; the 600 IU/day group experienced a marginal stiffening (0.1%); while the placebo group showed a 2% increase. It is important to note that a very high dose is required to achieve the benefit. The normal dose of Vitamin D is 600 IU/day. 
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