Revitalize Your Brain with Leafy Greens

Your mom was absolutely right – you should eat your greens! While we all know that leafy greens are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals, new research is indicating that there are additional benefits, such as helping to keep your brain healthy and prevent the deterioration that is common with aging. Here are some of the details:

Loving Lettuce Lowers Risk

Studies from Rush University Medical School indicate that lettuce is an important key when it comes to stalling memory decline in aging brains. Just 1 1/3 cups of lettuce, or about ½ cup of cooked leafy greens can help keep your brain feeling more than a decade younger.

The study looked at the eating habits and activity levels of 960 people 58 years and older, to find patterns in what may lead to better brain function. Who knew that lettuce would place such an important part?

Why Leafy Greens?

Although certainly not the only food that is a powerful brain protector, leafy greens do have something special. Researchers think that the combination of nutrients is part of the key. Leafy greens are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which helps to reduce inflammation in the brain as well as preventing the build-up of plaque on brain cells – associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, as a great source of folate, leafy greens can help with a healthy vascular system. On top of that, leafy greens are a good place to find antioxidants and vitamin K, which in turn help prevent cellular degeneration.

Even More Benefits

If you choose to eat more leafy greens to maintain a healthy brain, that’s great. You’ll also be able to capitalize on a reduction in the risk of certain cancers (as with most antioxidant-rich foods) and prevent Type 2 diabetes. The extra fiber and water are also terrific for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

Embracing Leafy Greens

It’s not too hard to reach your daily dosage of healthy leafy greens. Start with a handful of spinach or kale in a smoothie. Then have a salad for lunch (or some lettuce on your sandwich). You can even chop up leafy greens and “hide” them in foods like lasagna, soups, stews, etc. Or, you can steam a few cups of greens and get it all over with at once. Throw on a touch of peanut or sesame oil, and you are all set!

Boosting Brain Health

If you are serious about brain health, there are a few more foods to consider adding (or increasing) into your diet. Whole grains, beans, certain berries (the darker, the better), nuts, and olive oil are all great candidates. You need your brain, so take care of it!