Eat your green leafy vegetables!
Research shows that good nutrition plays a big role in maintaining brain health. From the development of the BEN Scale to the research on good fats, good nutrition is a significant factor for a healthy brain.
New research has now established a link between nutrients found in green leafy vegetables and brain health.
The Rush Memory and Aging Project
A recent study of older Americans found that individuals who consume 1 to 2 servings of green leafy vegetables a day are cognitively 11 years younger than their counterparts who did not or rarely consumed green leafy vegetables.
This research study looked at 960 individuals from the Chicago area. The average age of the participants was 81 years. All participants entered the study cognitively well. Each year they completed cognitive testing. Over a five year period, their cognitive abilities were mapped and compared to the other individuals in the test group. The researchers concluded that eating green leafy vegetables made a difference in cognitive aging.
Identifying Important Nutrients
The study also isolated specific nutrients contained in green leafy vegetables. These vegetables are rich in folate, phylloquinone and luten. Once other factors were accounted for, these three nutrients were associated with slower cognitive decline.
These nutrients also exhibited a protective effect on the brain. Consuming these nutrients seemed to buffer against cognitive decline.
While not definitive, this study adds to the growing body of evidence that nutrition helps the brain to age well.
Make Leafy Greens an Everyday Food
Adding leafy greens to your diet is important for brain health. but like everything else in life, knowledge is one thing and motivation is another.
How can you motivate yourself to eat leafy greens?
One way is to experiment with new recipes. For some great ideas, check out Inspired Greens Inspiring Meals.
One of my favourite ways to add greens into my meals is to use the lettuce leaf as a wrap for meat or other vegetables. It is a fun way to eat leafy greens.
A second way is to grow some leafy greens in your kitchen or in your garden. Growing your own food encourages healthy consumption. When I stimulate all my senses – sight, smell and touch – as well as taste, I am much more likely to eat more greens.
And if growing your own greens seems like a step too far, check out the living lettuce from producers like Whole Leaf. The lettuce is attached to its roots and growing medium when it hits your table. Therefore, you get maximum nutrient value. It looks and tastes beautiful.
It inspires me to eat more lettuce.