Study indicates eating leafy greens shaves 11 years off memory loss challenges

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A study in the journal Neurology finds eating dark, leafy greens daily prevents cognitive decline. (KABC)

If you're looking for another reason to swap fries for a salad, a new study offers some inspiration.

"Just having a salad a day may be one of the keys to brain health," said Trisha Calvo, a Consumer Reports health editor.

The study shows eating leafy green vegetables every day may help in preserving memory and thinking skills as you grow older.

"Dark, leafy greens are packed with nutrients like folate, vitamin K and antioxidants, and these all play a role in brain health," said Calvo.

Neurology published the study, which found people who ate leafy greens had brains that functioned as well as people 11 years younger, compared to those who ate little or none.

"Eleven years is significant, and what this study does is it adds to a growing body of scientific evidence that we can make real changes in our risks for dementia by altering our diets," said Orly Avitzur, a Consumer Reports medical advisor.

You don't have to eat bowl after bowl, either. The brain benefits were seen among people who ate roughly 1 1/3 cups of raw greens a day or about a half-cup of cooked dark, leafy greens.

As a neurologist and the medical director at Consumer Reports, Avitzur said the findings could be another tool for helping people stay healthy.

"As the population ages, the number of people with dementia rises, so it's critically important to find effective strategies to reduce the risk of cognitive decline," said Avitzur.

Working greens into at least one meal a day could be a simple way to help promote brain health.

Consumer Reports says several studies support the link between diet and cognitive function, including a host of foods that may reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease. Foods such as nuts, berries, beans, olive oil and even a daily glass of wine are all on the menu.

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