A new study has found that people who consume more green leafy vegetables had fewer brain proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, 581 individuals with an average age of 84 at the time of the dietary evaluation agreed to donate their brains upon death for the advancement of dementia research. To assess their food intake, participants completed annual questionnaires regarding the amount of food they consumed across various categories. The study investigated the adherence of individuals to the MIND and Mediterranean diets. Although these diets share similarities, such as the inclusion of vegetables, the Mediterranean diet additionally advises consuming fruits and three or more servings of fish per week. Conversely, the MIND diet emphasizes the consumption of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, as well as other vegetables.

So, which green leafy vegetables are the best for brain health? Here are some top picks:

Spinach: Spinach is a great source of vitamins A and K, as well as folate and iron. It also contains high levels of antioxidants, which can help protect the brain from oxidative stress.

Kale: Kale is another nutrient-dense leafy green, with high levels of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and potassium. It also contains sulforaphane, a compound that has been shown to improve cognitive function in animal studies.

Collard greens: Collard greens are a good source of vitamin K and also contain high levels of calcium and potassium. They are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help protect the brain.

Swiss chard: Swiss chard is high in vitamins A and K, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also contains flavonoids, which have been shown to have cognitive benefits.

Broccoli: While not technically a “leafy” green, broccoli is still a great choice for brain health. It contains high levels of vitamin C and sulforaphane, and has been shown to improve cognitive function in animal studies.

Incorporating more green leafy vegetables into your diet is a simple and delicious way to support brain health. They can also be incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways. For example, try adding spinach to your morning smoothie, sautéing kale with garlic as a side dish, or using collard greens as a wrap for your favourite sandwich fillings. Your brain will thank you for it!