Eat Smart

We’re always told to eat healthily from a young age. In your younger years, eating all of your greens was probably the most challenging thing you faced and even as an adult, the phrase “you are what you eat” still follows you around. People say that eating certain foods will boost your intelligence, something about which I had always been skeptical. However, recent research at the University of Illinois suggests eating greens at a young age may actually improve academic performance.

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The research in Illinois has revealed that a pigment found in leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, and kale, could be a key factor in academic achievement. In the study, children with higher levels of this pigment in their eyes performed better than others in cognitive tests. Lutein, probably more familiar as the pigment responsible for the yellow colouration of egg yolks, is already known to be very important in eye health, but new roles of the pigment in cognitive function and development are being discovered in a number of studies.

If these studies reveal lutein consumption to be the cause of this increased performance among children then we must be careful to ensure we are not disadvantaging our children based on their diet from the very start.

“Macular pigment optical density is positively associated with academic performance among preadolescent children”

DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1329976

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