Eat Your Leafy Greens

close up of green lettuceWe’ve long known the health benefits of eating green leafy vegetables. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals that help you lose weight, fight cancer, and keep your heart healthy. And now they can save your memory too.

Green Leafy Vegetables Improve Brain Function

A new study suggests that eating just one daily serving of green leafy vegetables—spinach, kale, lettuce—can significantly improve your brain function. The long-ranging study focused specifically on older people and followed their eating habits over five years. The results showed that people who ate 1.3 servings of leafy greens every day had the brain function of people 11 years younger.

Previous studies have told us that a nutritious diet plays an important part in cognitive function, but now we know that green leafy vegetables alone can prevent mental decline. The theory behind this revelation is that green leafy vegetables are rich in lutein and folate. Lutein is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the brain, and folate is a B-vitamin that reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other Benefits of Green Leafy Vegetables

Besides preventing mental decline, green leafy vegetables offer a wealth of other benefits:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Weight management
  • Sun protection
  • Cancer prevention
  • Bone health
  • Eye health
  • Gut health
  • Excellent source of iron and calcium

How to Add Green Leafy Vegetables to your Diet

These vegetables are really easy to add to your diet, and they’re tasty too. If you’re not already eating 1–2 servings a day, you can start today with minimal investment.

The vegetables you want to add to your diet include arugula, broccoli, cabbage, chard, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach. They’re delicious in salads, stir fries, and on the side. You can also add them to your omelets, sandwiches, and even smoothies.

A serving of leafy vegetables is about 1 cup, or 1/2 cup cooked. Aim to consume two servings a day for maximum benefit.

 

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