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K for Cognition

1A K for Cognition
Vitamin K Linked to Better Cognition in Older Adults

March is National Celery Month, and we’re celebrating with ants on a log, Waldorf salads, whole wheat stuffing, and homemade slaws. Celery is low in calories, provides a good source of vitamin A and folate, and is an excellent source of vitamin K. Most well-known for its role in the blood clotting system and bone health, adequate amounts of vitamin K in the diet was also recently linked to better cognition and behavior among older adults in a 2015 study published in Nutrients.

French researchers questioned 192 study participants, 65 years of age or older, about their usual dietary habits and used the information to estimate daily vitamin K intake. A neuropsychologist then assessed participants’ cognition through a mental examination, scored between 0 (worst) and 30 (best). Behavior, including mood and self-control disorders, was scored on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (worst).

Overall, higher vitamin K intake was linked to better cognition and behavior. Specifically, compared to those with the lowest vitamin K intake, participants who got more vitamin K in their diet scored 2.1 points higher (better) on the cognition scale and 0.4 points lower (better) on the behavior scale. Researchers cannot say for sure how this nutrient is linked to cognition and behavior, but think it may have to do with vitamin K’s role in the central nervous system, specifically, its involvement in the production of sphingolipids, compounds that make up nerve cells and have been linked to the aging process.

In addition to celery, leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, kale and collard greens are jam-packed with vitamin K. Other top sources include broccoli, cabbage, asparagus and Brussels sprouts.

Add more vitamin K to your diet with DOLE® Premium Celery Hearts, a unique variety of celery with a mild flavor and less-stringy texture. This crunchy vegetable is perfect for snacking or to use in recipes like our Roasted Celery Soup.

BONUS: Vitamin K-rich foods like celery may also protect against diabetes. One study found those in the top 20% of vitamin K intake had significantly lower blood glucose levels, suggesting their bodies were better able to use the insulin produced by the pancreas, hence a lower diabetes risk. 

Published March 1, 2016

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