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Did your mother always tell you to eat your vegetables while you were growing up? Most kids hated being told to eat green things, but guess what? Your mother was right. Eating your greens is scientifically proven to offer numerous health benefits.

While spinach and kale are favorites of those looking to stay physically fit, a study from the University of Illinois released data that shows these green, leafy vegetables could also keep people cognitively fit. Now there’s an additional reason to eat nutrient-rich foods!

The study, which included 60 adults aged 25 to 45, found that middle-aged participants with higher levels of lutein — a nutrient found in green leafy vegetables, and avocado and eggs — had neural responses that were more on par with younger individuals. Interestingly, their neural responses were higher when compared to their low-lutein peers, insinuating they were able to engage more of their brain power.

Lutein is a nutrient that the body can’t make on its own, so it must be acquired through diet. Lutein accumulates in brain tissues, but also accumulates in the eye, which allows researchers to measure levels without relying on invasive techniques.

So, come on – no more excuses! It is time to eat your green, leafy veggies; if not to appease your mother, do it for your cognitive health.