Cognitive function includes complex activities of the brain, such as memory, processing, attention, and executive functions, e.g., reasoning, problem-solving, planning, and multi-tasking (via Oregon State University). Many things can affect cognitive function, including genetics, age, brain injury, and chronic health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes (via the CDC). Diet has been found to play a role in protecting cognitive function, with a diet high in vegetables, fish, whole grains, and olive oil associated with increased cognitive ability (via the NIH).
Biologically active compounds in cruciferous vegetables may offer additional benefits for brain health. The isothiocyanates created by the breakdown of glucosinolates help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress that can contribute to a number of brain diseases. In older adults, chronic inflammation has been found to increase the risk of age-related cognitive decline, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (via the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing). According to a 2021 research review, pre-clinical research repeatedly shows that the active substances in cruciferous vegetables have a neuroprotective effect on the development of Alzheimer’s disease. More research is needed to confirm these findings.