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More colorful produce linked to slower memory decline rate

New research shows colorful produce is linked to slower rate of memory decline
New research shows colorful produce is linked to slower rate of memory decline 02:09

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Produce still rules all for keeping the brain young, new research on brain food released Tuesday shows. The study is more proof that people who load up on colorful fruits and vegetables can keep their brains sharper for longer.

The brighter, the better. The most colorful produce is linked to a slower rate of memory decline, according to new research.

"It is very compelling," neurologist Dr. Carol Lippa said.

Lippa, the director of Jefferson Health's Cognitive Disorders and Comprehensive Alzheimer's Disease Center, says there's growing evidence about the impact diet has on the brain.

"Get your vegetables, like your mother told you, are good for you as you grow older," Lippa said, "especially the green leafy ones, broccoli and kale and spinach. Those are particularly high in these in flavanol."

Flavonols are plant chemicals that create bright colors.

New research that covered 961 elderly people published by the American Academy of Neurology says those who consumed the highest amount had a decreased risk for dementia.

"They were half as likely to develop Alzheimer's," Lippa said.

Flavonols contain a lot of antioxidants that fight toxins and inflammation.

"They are known to have a neuroprotective effect," Lippa said.

While blueberries and broccoli have previously been shown to be brain protective, this new study says kale, tomatoes and tea were just as beneficial.

"It's not really specific," Lippa said. "You don't have to have a half a cup of cherries and three leaves of kale and you know, it's not like a rigid, rigid diet. It's like, pick any."

Keeping your brain sharp isn't just about a healthy diet.

"A lot of baby boomers do not even want to lose one IQ point," Lippa said, "and the diet is one component, but exercise is another component."

Lippa says regular exercise lowers the risk for memory loss and that includes brain workouts like doing puzzles.

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