Nutritionist, neuroscientist list greens high in “brain” nutrients

A major news outlet's online article states that a nutritionist and neuroscientist call leafy greens the "key to a healthy brain..."

The leafy greens these “experts” consider “good for your brain” include kale, spinach, lettuces, cabbage and Swiss chard. The explanation is that these greens are “high in” or “rich in” certain nutrients, including folate (a B vitamin), fiber and beta carotene (vitamin A).

In order to be high/rich in a nutrient, one FDA serving of the food must contain at least 20% of the Daily Value for that nutrient.  


But actually, none of these greens is high in all of those nutrients and some are not even “good sources” (containing at least 10% of DV). Most cabbages and certain lettuces (iceberg, butterhead/bibb) are not high in ANY of those nutrients. Romaine, Swiss chard, kale and spinach (all the dark leafy greens) are high in beta carotene. Romaine and spinach are high in folate. Obviously, if you eat a larger portion you will ingest higher amounts of all nutrients.


Whether it is accurate or ethical to imply that eating foods with these nutrients (no dose mentioned) will prevent or treat depression, dementia and other “brain” conditions is another matter, and the studies they cite do not show such an effect… only an “association.” 


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