Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about vegetables, there’s one more layer to peel back! A 20-year study of more than 13,000 women found that those who eat the most veggies, including cruciferous options (think broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts) and leafy greens (think spinach, kale, collards, lettuce), had a slower cognitive decline than women consuming the least amount. Tests used in the study included measures of general cognition, verbal memory, category fluency, and working memory. Another small study found that older adults who ate 1-2 servings of green leafy vegetables every day were 11 years younger in cognition age compared to those who rarely or never ate leafy greens.
Try these ideas to add more leafy greens and cruciferous veggies to your days:
· Add spinach to a breakfast egg or tofu scramble.
· Roast broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels over the weekend so they’re ready to add to lunch salads or to use as a dinner side dish.
· Make broccoli pesto.
· Find a new kale salad recipe to try.
· Prep a cruciferous veggie stir fry.
· Choose bagged salad options that include spinach, kale, and other mixed greens when at the grocery store.
Kang JH, Ascherio A, Grodstein F. Fruit and vegetable consumption and cognitive decline in aging women. Ann Neurol. 2005 May;57(5):713-20. doi: 10.1002/ana.20476. PMID: 15852398.
Morris MC, Wang Y, Barnes LL, Bennett DA, Dawson-Hughes B, Booth SL. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline: Prospective study. Neurology. 2018 Jan 16;90(3):e214-e222. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004815. Epub 2017 Dec 20. PMID: 29263222; PMCID: PMC5772164.