All of our anti-age focus tends to laser in on face creams, youthful serums, surgeries and maybe a yoga pose or two. But did you know that eating leafy green vegetables is a great anti-aging step to keep your brain healthy and your mind sharp? Keep reading to learn why you should add leafy green vegetables to your dinner plate tonight.

In a new study published in the journal, Neurology, researchers observed 960 individuals, who were between the ages of 58 ad 99 years old. The individuals were divided into five groups, ranging from those who ate the most leafy green vegetables per day, to those who ate little to none.

What researchers found is that eating about 1.3 servings of foods like spinach, kale and collar greens, is associated with a “slower rate of cognitive decline.” An earlier study back in 2006 found a similar association with individuals who ate not only leafy vegetables, but cruciferous ones, too, like broccoli and cauliflower.

But why are these vegetables beneficial for cognitive health? The nutrients and bioactive compounds present in leafy greens can help to protect the brain. Vitamins E and K, along with lutein, folate and beta carotene “can have a powerful impact” according to study author Martha Clare Morris, who serves as a professor of nutrition science at Rush medical College in Chicago.

It’s important to remember that these studies show an association between leafy greens and a sharper mind, and that further studies are necessary to better understand how the nutrients present in leafy green vegetables support cognitive health.

So, it’s a good idea to include these vegetables as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle that also includes a strong social life and physical activity to ward of aging and cognitive decline.

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