The leafy vegetable contains a compound that could help to prevent the build-up of toxic clumps in the brain.
Another veg to consider adding to your dementia prevention shopping basket is chicory. It’s a type of leafy, lettuce-esque food that is either red or white (yellow-tinged) and has a mildly bitter flavour.
It turns out the leaf contains chicoric acid (sometimes spelt cichoric), which can help to prevent the formation of amyloid plaques, the toxic clumps in the brain which a build-up of can lead to dementia. Chicoric acid is also found in smaller amounts in lettuce and dandelion.
Researchers from Northwest A&F University in China carried out tests on mice to see how chicoric acid had an effect on memory. They discovered that the mice that were given chicoric acid were much quicker at performing memory and learning tasks.
Also known as endive, chicory is a forced crop, grown in complete darkness, which accounts for its blanched white, yellow-tipped leaves. It has a distinctive, cigar-like shape, about 12cm long.
It can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a sauce, and it’s grown in the UK although eaten more widely in countries such as France, Belgium and Italy. British chicory is in season from January to March.