Did you know that you have the power to slow down, and possibly prevent, the decline of your brain, helping to prevent dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s?
By adopting specific measures, you may help your brain fight cognitive decline – an issue that impacts 1 in 9 Americans. Below we will run through some of the reasons that preventing cognitive decline is so critical, and how to do so.
Why Is Preventing Cognitive Decline Important
Cognitive decline is defined as concern of or difficulty with a person’s thinking, memory, concentration, and other brain functions beyond what is typically expected due to aging. Cognitive decline mainly affects people older in age, and can vary in severity from mild memory issues to dementia. Most people with cognitive decline deal with the following symptoms:
- Forgetting things more often.
- Missing appointments or social events.
- Losing your train of thought.
- Difficulty following the plot of a book or movie.
- Having trouble following a conversation.
- Finding it hard to make decisions, finish a task or follow instructions.
- Starting to have trouble finding your way around places you know well.
- Beginning to have poor judgment.
These symptoms can lead to additional mental health complications like anxiety, depression, lack of interest, and anger management issues. This, alongside maintaining your independence, is why it is important to try and prevent any type of cognitive decline.
Food Choices To Help Prevent Cognitive Decline
There are a variety of ways to prevent cognitive decline, including brain training, activities focused on cognitive performance improvement, and more. But one that can often surprise people is the food that you eat. Below is a list of the top five foods to eat that assist with slowing down and preventing cognitive decline.
- Nutrient-Rich Vegetables
You should include leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli in your diet for an increase of brain-boosting nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene. Additionally, vegetables rich in carotenoids, such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, papaya, apricots, spinach, and kale, contribute to overall brain health.
- Berries and Vibrant Fruits
Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, serve as excellent sources of antioxidants and flavonoids, offering protection against cell damage. Studies suggest that fruits with higher carotenoid levels that have orange and red coloring are linked to improved brain health and a reduced risk of dementia. Not only do these fruits deliver a nutritional punch, but they also contain lower natural sugar levels compared to many other fruits.
- Seafood Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is crucial for maintaining optimal brain health and lowering the risk of cognitive decline. Since our bodies cannot produce DHA, including two to three servings of fish per week into your diet provides the needed nutrients for your brain.
- Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes
Nuts, seeds, and legumes offer a combination of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and various nutrients like vitamin E, B vitamins, choline, magnesium, and zinc. These foods promote brain health and help reduce age-related cognitive decline.
- Brain-Supporting Whole Grains
Whole grains, such as quinoa, barley, and brown rice, are rich in fiber, B vitamins, and other nutrients that contribute to reduced inflammation in the brain. These foods help with memory function and fight against dementia. Including whole grains in your diet to promote brain health, like rice and oats, can be healthier alternatives to more processed grains, such as white flour.
Other Things You Can Do To Prevent Cognitive Decline
There are additional things you can do besides eating healthy to help prevent and slow down cognitive decline. These include:
You can be physically active, by doing chores around the house, or exercises like aerobics, swimming, or brisk walking. It is recommended to do at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping exercise per week. Doing physical activity also promotes other health benefits like lowering the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, reducing stress, and increasing brain function.
Getting Enough Sleep
Make sure to get enough sleep, at least 7 hours minimum. Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other. A lack of sleep can increase cognitive decline and even cause anxiety and depression.
Being social is also a great way to prevent cognitive decline and promote your mental health as well. In fact, participating in social activities is like an exercise for your brain because they keep your mind agile and improve cognitive function. Socialization can even help lower the risk of dementia.
Cognitive Performance Training
It is also beneficial to exercise your mind by doing math problems, word puzzles, learning a new skill or hobby, learning a language, reading, drawing or painting. By exercising your mind you are keeping your mind active which sparks new nerve cell connections and prevents cognitive decline. This kind of training can also be done with professional help – here at Parker Performance Institute, we offer cognitive support to keep your mind sharp, using a range of hi-tech therapies and treatments.
Cognitive decline is a serious issue which affects many people later in life, but the recommendations above may help you to slow down or prevent cognitive decline and even prevent dementia from happening. Taking care of your mind and body, especially as you get older, is very important to having a healthy life. If you already suspect that you are dealing with some level of cognitive decline, reach out to us today, our team are experts in neurological conditions and are here to help you regain your life and independence.
Schedule an appointment with us today and take the first step toward your well-being.