Leafy Greens Protect Aging Brains
Older adults who ate 1 to 2 daily servings of leafy green vegetables showed less age-related decline in memory and other mental skills than those eating less, according to a study in Neurology. Serving sizes for the study were 1 cup of raw salad greens or a ½ cup of cooked spinach, kale, collards or other greens. The study included 960 people, ages 58 to 99. Over 5 years, researchers tested participants’ memory and thinking skills using cognitive tests and used a questionnaire to measure their intake of leafy greens. As measured by the cognitive tests, participants who consumed the most servings were 11 years younger in their mental skills, compared with those who rarely or never ate leafy greens. The study is observational, so it doesn’t prove that eating leafy greens directly slows brain aging. But it contributes to ongoing research to identify plant foods that may protect the aging brain as part of an overall healthy dietary pattern.