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BOSTON (CBSMiami) – A new study suggests a salad a day may help keep the brain healthy.

Pedro Velazquez is hitting the salad bar for lunch. He’s doing his best to get more greens into his diet.

“I’ve been trying to get rid of this for a while now so I go to the gym, then I come have a salad and I got to work,” he said.

New research in the journal Neurology suggests eating salad could also help keep his memory in good shape.

“Older adults who consumed leafy greens in their diet, the equivalent of about a cup and a half a day, they have a lower risk of developing memory deficits associated with dementia,” said Dr. Sarah Booth with the Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

The study followed 960 people for about five years and focused on green, leafy vegetables such as cooked spinach, kale and collard greens and raw lettuce salad.

The study found those who ate the most leafy greens were 11 years younger in brain age compared to those who ate the least.

Booth, who authored the study, said while it doesn’t prove leafy vegetables can slow brain aging, incorporating them in your diet can only help.

“There so many other chronic diseases that the onset and progression are delayed from consuming leafy greens because the leafy greens contain many nutrients,” said Booth.

That’s what Velazquez is trying to do.

“I used to eat a lot of fried food and Spanish food, now I’m trying to eat healthy,” he said.

He’s eating two to three servings of greens each week now but says he may start serving up more salad for his body and mind.

Researchers say it’s best to choose greens with dark leaves because the darker the leaves the more nutrients they have.

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