Eating a salad a day could help protect your brain against aging

  • Eating a salad a day could help protect your brain against aging

Eating a salad a day could help protect your brain against aging

In the quest to remain young, many have turned to supplements such as fish oil and vitamin B12 to stave off dementia or simply remember where we put the vehicle keys. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that 16 million people could have the disease by 2050.

The group of participants who ate the most servings of leafy greens per day (an average of only 1.3 servings daily) had slower cognitive decline than those who ate fewer leafy greens, researchers found. Statistically, the effect was similar to being 11 years younger.

The study followed 960 people for about 5 years and focused on green, leafy vegetables such as cooked spinach, kale and collard greens and raw lettuce salad. The participants also underwent annual tests to check their memories and cognitive functions.

"What we found is that older adults who consumed leafy greens in their diet, the equivalent of about a cup and a half a day", explains Booth, "they have lower risk of developing memory deficits associated with dementia".

In people who ate the most of green, leafy vegetables brain ageing slowed by 11 years.

But it's not just leafy greens that could potentially keep our memories alive. "The nutrients in food have many different forms and interactions".

This may be because the nutrients protect against inflammation, stress and damaging changes in the brain, as has been reported in prior studies, according to the researchers. "Other of the nutrients are newly identified".

However, Morris' study was observational, meaning there's only a correlation-nothing concrete-between how greens affect your brain. But adding a serving of spinach into your diet is never a bad idea.

Still, the findings are promising, according to one expert not involved in the research.

Devi said she thinks the protective effects of leafy greens stem more from an overall healthy diet. Other good sources of the nutrient include almonds and some oils, like sunflower and safflower.