As we age, incorporating lifestyle changes that foster healthy brain aging are key. Keep reading to learn the latest research on impactful steps that can help promote successful cognitive aging including movement, brain healthy foods, and strengthening your mind-body connection.
- Memory, reasoning, and comprehension skills can decline as early as the age 45.
- Studies suggest more than half of adults over the age of 65 are concerned about their memory.
- Leading health organizations have published evidence-based brain health recommendations which encourage lifestyle changes to support cognitive health.
- Do not despair! Certain healthy behaviors and lifestyles can promote successful cognitive aging.
Move and eat for a healthy brain
- Get moving! Exercise helps improve learning, memory, attention, and cognitive flexibility.
- Eat brain-healthy foods within your holistic eating pattern:
- Load up on fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in plant nutrients called flavonoids — think berries, kale, and other dark green leafy vegetables.
- Choose whole grains if you include grains in your eating pattern — think brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-grain pasta, quinoa, or bulgur wheat.
- Use extra-virgin olive oil as your cooking oil.
- Grab a handful of nuts when you need a crunchy snack.
- Include seafood (if your eating pattern allows) — check out new fish ideas at your local butcher or fish market.
- Mix it up with meat-free meals each week. Try recipes that use legumes as the protein source.
More brain boosters
- Take some time for brain teasers. Crossword puzzles, card games, word games, art, and digital skills may support your brain health.
- Stay connected. Social engagement has been linked to brain health and cognitive function.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness. Meditation and mindfulness may encourage blood flow within the region of the brain (frontal lobes) important for attention, learning, memory, and cognitive flexibility.
- Please don’t smoke! Current smokers are at greater risk of cognitive decline. Quitting now may preserve your brain health in the future.
- Prioritize sleep. Consistent sleep time and more than six hours of sleep can help the brain recuperate and has been linked to cognitive function. Too much sleep is not ideal either.
- Combat prolonged stress. Taking steps toward stress reduction can help support your learning, memory, attention, and cognitive flexibility.
Implement these healthy brain building blocks to help boost your cognitive function, feel accomplished and satisfied in your day-to-day activities, and empower your healthy aging journey. You are worth it!