Wouldn’t it be great if your brain could be a decade younger? New research suggests that if you want to protect your thinking and memory it’s time to start putting more leafy green plant foods on your fork.
Researchers from the Memory and Aging Project (MAP) studied 960 people with an average age of 81. Participants were tracked over roughly a five-year period that included annual food frequency questionnaires and thinking and memory skills tests.
The researchers found that compared to those who ate the smallest amount of green leafy vegetables, those who ate the most, on average, had significantly slower rates of cognitive decline. Put in simple terms, the brains of those who ate the most green leafy vegetables were about 11 years younger, on average, than those who ate the least.
While this kind of study only shows association and doesn’t prove the cause, there’s truly no downside to putting its findings into practice and fortunately, it isn’t even that hard to do. Those in the study who ate the most green leafy vegetables were only eating one serving a day, or about one cup, of these nutrient-rich plant foods.
So now there’s even more reason to get a serve of green leafy vegetables in your diet each day. They’re some of the healthiest foods you can choose—nutrient-dense, high in fibre, low in energy—and they may also help keep your brain young.
Getting leafy greens at every meal
Breakfast. Most people don’t think of vegetables as breakfast foods, but your first meal of the day is a great chance to get some veggies in. Some sauteed baby spinach and mushrooms on wholegrain toast is a great green leafy way to start the day.
Lunch. A salad wrap or sandwich is a simple eat-anywhere way to make sure you’re getting your green leafy vegetables in every day, no matter how busy you are.
Dinner. Make that side dish the centre of the meal! Mix and match your favourite salads to get your daily serve of green leafy vegetables every dinner time. Looking for some inspiration? Check out our vegetable recipe collection at www.sanitarium.com.au/recipes/recipe-collections/vegetables.