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Health Information Salads help keep weight off

Latest food trend: The Popeye diet?

Salads can help you keep weight off, but could they also help keep your brain healthy? A recent study from Rush University Medical Center suggests just that.

Published in Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology, the study found that eating vegetables — green, leafy ones in particular — helps slow the rate of cognitive change in older adults.

“Compared to people who consumed less than one serving of vegetables a day, people who ate an average of 2.8 servings a day saw their cognitive change slow by roughly 40 percent,” says Rush study author Martha Clare Morris, ScD. “This decrease is equivalent to slowing the rate of cognitive change by about five years.”

The study also found that the older the person, the greater the decrease in cognitive decline if he or she ate more than two servings of vegetables a day. But surprisingly, eating fruit did not affect cognitive change.

Morris and colleagues will study this further, but in the meantime they hypothesize that it might be due to the high amount of vitamin E in vegetables and the tendency of vegetables to be eaten with added fats, such as salad dressings, that increase absorption of vitamin E.

So next time you’re offered a choice between a side of fries and a house salad, go with the salad. Your body and your brain will thank you.

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