Vegetables are good for you — knowledge really doesn’t get more common than that. But I’m still going to venture a guess that the results of this latest study will leave you very pleasantly surprised.
According to new research, eating just one serving of leafy greens daily may slam the brakes on age-related cognitive decline. You read that right — just a single serving per day.
This study featured nearly 1,000 subjects averaging 81 years old. Leafy green intake spanned anywhere from just .09 servings a day in the group with the lowest veggie consumption, to 1.3 servings daily in the group that ate the most. (In my opinion, still not a great amount.)
Follow-up was close to five years. And let’s just say some pretty stunning differences emerged.
Rates of cognitive decline were significantly slower among the subjects who consumed one to two servings of leafy greens per day. In fact, by the end of the study, this group’s cognitive function was the equivalent of 11 years “younger” compared to subjects who barely ate any leafy greens.
Researchers only needed to take a closer look at micronutrients to figure out why. Higher intakes of folate, phylloquinone, lutein, nitrate, alpha-Tocopherol, and kaempferol all had significant linear associations to slower rates of mental decline.
In other words, these powerful phytonutrients appear to offer direct protection for your brain. And all you have to do to reap their benefits is eat more salad. Or more spinach, kale, and collards — all of which, alongside lettuce, had the strongest links to slower rates of cognitive decline.
Of course, this finding isn’t exactly coming out of nowhere. Higher blood levels of carotenoids — abundant in leafy greens — have been linked with less severe white matter lesions before.
Previous research also shows lutein can curb oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. And that folate can fight a number of issues related to Alzheimer’s, including tau protein tangles.
So when I say that “food is medicine,” I mean it literally. The science is out there. And needless to say, green veggies should be a staple in everyone’s diet — folks looking to preserve brain health, in particular.
It’s such simple thing. And yet, if the average intakes in this study tell us anything, it’s that the people who need leafy greens the most really aren’t eating very many. I encounter this problem in my practice more than you’d think — and believe me, it’s not just kids who turn their noses up at vegetables.
There’s a good reason for that, of course: If you don’t know how to prepare veggies well, they’re not exactly appetizing. To be honest, I could think of a million things I’d rather eat than a bowl of naked greens.
Toss them in some homemade dressing or sauté them up with some garlic and lemon, though, and you’ll have a hard time putting your fork down. (In fact, it just so happens that you must add these fats to your greens if you want to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.)
You don’t have to be a professional chef to master the art of making veggies delicious, either. My A-List Diet book offers reams of recipes to make it simple for you. (And as you may recall, that’s just one of the ways this eating plan can keep your brain young.) So if you haven’t ordered a copy yet, consider this one more really good reason to get yours today.
And in the meantime, for more in-depth advice on keeping your brain operating at peak performance, check out my brand new Drug-Free Protocol for Reversing Alzheimer’s and Dementia. You can learn more about it or enroll today by clicking here.