I happen to like a good salad. And I’ll admit I’ve never met a spinach leaf or turnip green I didn’t like. But lots of folks can stomach leafy greens.
They taste like a mouth full of dirt or are too bitter to swallow.
Leave the grass to the cows, those folks say. And trust me, I get it.
Because I can assure you if MY dinner tasted like dirt, I’d be pushing those leafy greens off to the side too. Heck, I’d be burying them under the mashed potatoes for good measure.
(I’ll bet you didn’t think of THAT trick as a kid.)
So if you don’t love them, I don’t blame you. But if you’re like most adults, you still make a point of eating them. After all, some of the nutrients trapped inside those green leaves are positively essential for overall good health.
But did you know that leafy greens have a special relationship with our brain?
In fact, studies show that some of the nutrients locked in those green leaves could even help…
- ENHANCE memory
- BLOCK cognitive delcline
- FIGHT dementia
And if a few daily bites of ANY food can do all that, I bet you’d be willing to consider at least giving it another try. EVEN kale. Am I right?
Reclaim your brain from cognitive decline
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago tracked a group of 960 mature Americans, ages 58 to nearly 100, for up to a full decade.
Their goal was to figure out which brains aged “faster.” And then to try to spot any patterns that led to faster or slower aging.
And one thing stuck out like a, well, green thumb. And that’s those leafy greens I just mentioned. The volunteers who ate them had sharper, faster, “younger” brains.
The folks who were still pawning their veggies off on the pooch under the table? Well, let’s just say I’m wondering how they even got to the clinic for the tests in time. Because it was as if their brains were aging on fast-forward.
In terms of “brain age,” people who ate their greens – no hiding them under the potatoes – were a full 11 years “younger.”
And we’re not talking going vegetarian here either. In fact, we’re not even talking about switching a whole meal to a salad. That incredible benefit came from just the tiniest of servings – an amount even the biggest salad hater could live with.
Just one serving a day!
Commit to a daily dose of leafy greens
In other words, a daily “side salad” could help shave up to a decade of aging off your brain.
And you don’t even have to eat anything you genuinely hate. Because when it comes to greens, there are plenty of options out there
Now, if you’re like many folks, you may be wondering what exactly counts as a leafy green. Obvious ones include various kinds of lettuces, including romaine, butter lettuce, arugula, and iceberg.
Darker greens like kale, spinach, and turnip greens make the list too, of course. And are generally more nutritious.
But some veggies which count as leafy greens aren’t so obvious. Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all both cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens. And all are especially rich in nutrients that help protect against cancer and enhance heart and brain health.
Swiss chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, and watercress are some of the other often overlooked leafy greens. If you find them too tough or bitter to eat raw in a salad, lightly cooking them can make them tender and milder.
Add a little olive oil and a dash of salt, and they won’t just be tolerable, they’ll be downright enjoyable.