I?ll bet Popeye never had dementia. Or heart disease. That?s because he ate plenty of spinach, and spinach does more than keep you strong. It adds an important nutrient to your diet that affects your brain.
Spinach is rich in the nutrient folate. And a recent study found that a deficiency of folate actually triples the risk of getting dementia in older people!
That?s not all. The researchers found that folate also helps your heart.
In this two-year study that followed 518 seniors, those who had higher folate levels also had higher vitamin B12 and lower homocysteine. Lowering homocysteine is important because high homocysteine is a strong risk factor for heart disease.
Begin now to keep your folate intake high and you?ll see your homocysteine levels drop. You can get folate in a multivitamin, but it?s easy enough to boost your levels with a minor dietary change.
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You see, folate isn?t found only in green vegetables, as many people think. It?s also high in many beans. In fact, half a cup of black-eyed peas contains as much folate as the same amount of spinach. So be sure to eat plenty of green vegetables and add beans to your diet on a regular basis. If beans cause gas even when you take enzymes like Beano (found in grocery and drugstores), look for a breakfast cereal that has folate or folic acid.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Changes in folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine associated with incident dementia J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2008