Are Leafy Greens the Fountain of Youth?

Published: August 10, 2021

Are Leafy Greens the Fountain of Youth?

The mythical fountain of youth may take many forms in people’s imagination, but not … kale. Or mustard greens. But maybe it should?

Consider this: Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago studied a group of almost 1,000 older adults, and found that those who ate green leafy vegetables every day experienced a slower decline in memory and thinking skills. “This difference was equivalent to being 11 years younger in age,” said study author Martha Clare Morris, ScD.

With cases of dementia on the rise, Morris, who is a nutritional epidemiologist, noted: “Adding a daily serving of green leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to help promote brain health.”

There are plenty of choices if you’d like to increase your intake of these nutritional powerhouse foods. Besides kale and mustard greens, consider:

Bok choy
Collard greens
Dark green leafy lettuce (such as Romaine)
Turnip greens

The Rush University experts recommend eating at least one serving per day of leafy green veggies. One serving equals two cups of raw greens, or one cup of cooked. Greens retain the most nutrients if you eat them uncooked or lightly steamed, but even fully cooked, they offer a good nutrient boost. The U.S.D.A. also notes that people tend to eat a larger amount when the greens are cooked.

Greens offer such a variety of flavors and textures that you could create a different salad every day! And eating greens in a salad isn’t the only way to enjoy them. Make a a burrito with a romaine lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla. Add greens to a smoothie. Use them in stir fries and soups. At the last minute, stir raw baby spinach or arugula into your warm spaghetti for a pleasing wilted veggie garnish.

Just a couple of safety notes. First, it’s important to clean greens. Right before consuming, run them under cold water, or immerse in a bowl of water, or use a salad spinner as recommended. Some experts say that even bagged “ready to eat” salads could use an extra rinse.

Also, although “the more the merrier” is usually true when it comes to greens, people with certain diseases or who take certain medications may be advised to avoid some types of greens. Talk to your doctor before making any major changes in your diet.

Source: IlluminAge AgeWise