Consumer Reports: Eating leafy greens might slow memory loss

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Most of us are familiar with the old adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away. Now, there is new evidence suggesting that a salad a day, may keep memory loss at bay. The health team at Consumer Reports explains why you may want to spend a little more time in the produce section.

If you are 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, Consumer Reports health editor.

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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," said Calvo. "These all play a role in brain health."

The journal, 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 are 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, Consumer Reports neurologist & medical director.

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You do not have to eat bowl after bowl either. The brain benefits were seen among people who ate roughly one and a third cups of raw greens a day, or about a half-cup of cooked dark, leafy greens.

Avitzur says the findings could be another tool for helping people stay healthy. "As the population ages, the numbers of people with dementia rises. So it's critically important to find effective strategies to reduce the risk of cognitive decline," he said.

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.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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