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Eating Leafy Greens Can Help Those with MS

January 9, 2018

You might want to start upping your intake of leafy greens, because a recent study found that older adults eating leafy vegetables had a slower rate of memory decline. This study from Rush University found that at least one serving of leafy greens displayed a slower rate of decline in memory and thinking skills versus those that did not consume these vegetables regularly.

The study involved 960 older adults without dementia that were an average age of 81. Researchers tracked their diets for an average of around five years, and found that those who ate their greens had experienced a mental advantage of over 11 years over those who did not.

It was found that those who ate the green leafy vegetables as well as foods high in vitamin K1, vitamin E, lutein nitrate, folic acid and kaempferol had shown best results when it came to the cognitive tests.

Vegetables such as scallions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, fermented dairy, prunes, and other green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin K1. Vitamin E includes foods like wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, avocado, Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout, which all have very powerful antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress known to exacerbate multiple sclerosis. Lutein can be found in leafy greens as can folic acid, which can also be found in spinach, asparagus, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, breads, cereals, rice and pasta. Nitrates are found in lettuce, beets, carrots, green beans, spinach, parsley, cabbage, radishes, celery and collard greens, and kaempferol comes from capers, kale, dill weed, cress, broccoli and turnip greens.

While MS patients weren’t the main focus of this study, researchers did discover a very important problem associated with the disease. More than 50 percent of all those with MS experience cognitive changes which can cause disabilities, many with MS call this “cog fog”. Information processing speed was the number one problem discovered, while other issues included planning, executive function, memory, fatigue, depression and basic attention.

Nichole M. Bednar, MS RD, a senior dietitian, food service and computrition specialist at UCLA Health, explained that the connection to these problems could be the gut. “Bringing in roughage changes the microbiome into a healthier one. With the healthier gut comes less depression and less anxiety,” Bednar continued. In addition to this, Bednar added, “A healthy microbiome will not have inflammatory reactions. And that helps cognitive function.”

Bednar also says the first thing that must be figured out about MS patients is if that patient has any kind of allergy connection, because even a slight sensitivity can cause an inflammatory response in the gut which can kill good bacteria.
Bednar says switching diets can greatly benefit those with MS, “One week of a plant-based diet can make a significant change in the gut biome. It can give you a new GI track.” Dietary alterations can even induce large, temporary microbial shifts within 24 hours.

Via Healthline