BY DANIELLE ZICKL DECEMBER 21, 2017
If you weren't allowed to leave the dinner table without eating your greens as a kid, you're probably not alone. We've all known our entire lives that salad is good for you, packing essential nutrients—protein, iron, fiber, and more—into your diet. But we're also willing to bet you didn't know just how good salads are, especially for your brain.
A recent study published in the journal Neurology found that eating one to two servings of leafy greens a day improves your memory and overall cognitive ability.
Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D., a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, and her colleagues looked at 960 people ages 58 to 99 years old over an average of 4.7 years. Participants completed a questionnaire of how often they ate foods like spinach, salad, and kale, or collards. Those who consumed the most ate around 1.3 servings a day and those who consumed the fewest ate around 0.1 servings a day.
Morris and her team followed up with participants for 10 years and found that the brains of people who ate salads the most were "the equivalent of being 11 years younger in age."
However, Morris' study was observational, meaning there's only a correlation—nothing concrete—between how greens affect your brain. Newsweek also notes that the study doesn't "extend to younger or nonwhite or Hispanic people."
Still, “daily consumption of leafy greens may be a simple and effective way to protect against loss in memory and other cognitive abilities,” Morris told Newsweek.