Your ability to recall facts, use language, and learn new things stems from your cognitive health. That’s what determines how well your brain performs. The steps you take to maintain your body’s health can also be used to keep your brain healthy and keep cognitive decline at bay.
What is cognitive decline and how does it impact your life?
It’s not unusual for someone to have slight cognitive decline. For example, an older person may experience trouble learning new information or difficulties using a language they’ve used for years. Some memory issues may be alarming but aren’t necessarily something that should scare you because they’re a normal part of the aging process. All that being said, rapid cognitive decline (happens in a short amount of time) that alters or makes your day-to-day activities difficult may be dementia—an umbrella term for cognitive impairment.
Severe head injuries, a stroke, and other disease processes like some autoimmune diseases or Alzheimer’s disease can also cause significant cognitive impairment. You see, as our bodies age so too do our brains. While you can’t stop cognitive decline caused by the natural aging process once its begun, there are things you can do to help prevent or delay it before it becomes an issue. This is where making healthy food choices, exercising regularly, and refraining from any other mal-behavior can make all the difference.
Making healthy choices when it comes to what you eat may be the single most important thing you can do for your brain. It may require a lifestyle change, a kitchen pantry overhaul, or completely changing your mindset when it comes to food, but making the changes could very well change your life for the better.
Studies have shown that it’s not just what you eat that gives your brain a cognitive boost. That, coupled with adhering to a regular sleep schedule; managing stress; partaking in activities that include mental stimulation; and regular exercise, can provide even more potential memory-boosting benefits.
To make your brain-boosting diet easier, we’ve compiled a list of foods you should add to your diet.
- Oily fish, like salmon, are high in omega 3s and DHA, a building block of the brain that improves its function.
- Dark berries, like blueberries, are rich in antioxidants that can protect against free radicals that attack our cells.
- Greens (like kale, spinach, and broccoli) are high in vitamin E as well as folate. All three aid in normal brain development and help to protect cell membranes from free radicals.
- Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene. It regulates genes that influence the regulation of cell growth within the brain.
- Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol. It helps improve blood flow to the brain and aids in attention and concentration.
- Quinoa is high in complex carbs, iron, and B vitamins, all of which provide long-lasting energy, help blood carry oxygen to the rest of the body, and help in creating new memories.
By Micaela Lanao