Whilst many people are aware that cognitive function can decline with age, your lifestyle choices play a huge part in your brain health.
Your brain changes due to its plasticity, this means you can increase brain function, reduce cognitive decline and increase your number of brain cells- keeping you mentally fit.
Your brain has 100 billion cells, and these are affected by what you eat, how you move and how well you sleep. This means that what you consume and any deficiencies in your diet can positively and negatively change how your brain functions.
To improve cognitive function, it is important to make positive lifestyle choices, a few of which are outlined below;
1. CONSUME MORE MINERALS
What you consume is fuel for your brain and body. Various nutrients play a crucial role in brain function-
Magnesium- Magnesium is an essential mineral that is essential for a range of enzymatic reactions within the body. It has been linked to improvements in long term memory, supporting mood and aiding relaxation. It is also needed for the transmission of impulses in cell membranes (1)
However, magnesium works synergistically with other minerals and trace elements such as calcium which also needs to be present in the recommended amounts to prevent neurological problems.
Zinc- Zinc is found in high amounts in neurons at the forebrain. It is essential for supporting memory and thinking skills and deficiency of zinc is associated with neurological impairments.
Calcium- calcium plays a role in nerve cell messenger, vital for healthy brain functioning. It also regulates neurotransmission and controls nerve excitability (2).
Whilst minerals have these important roles in the brain, they are also essential for hydration. Minerals help hold water in the brain so that water has more of a physiological effect, hydrating the body and brain more effectively. Cellnutrition Quinton is a 100% natural, marine-based supplement providing all 78 bioavailable minerals and trace elements. By incorporating more minerals and trace elements you may be able to build brainpower in ways that you can’t from other strategies alone.
2. SWAP COFFEE FOR MATCHA GREEN TEA
Whilst coffee has some benefits, aiding alertness and focus, Matcha green tea offers a slower release of caffeine and contains antioxidants, supporting the body and mind.
(3) A study found that green tea aids working memory processing, improved brain cognition and function.
3. CONSUME THE CORRECT FATS
The human brain is nearly 60% fat. Fats play a role in the structural and functional role in neurons. Essential fatty acids act as messengers and are involved in the synthesis and functions of brain neurotransmitters. Omega-3 fatty acids preserve and maintain the specific molecular systems and mechanisms that support cognitive processes and synaptic functions.
Those with low levels of Omega-3 often have an increased risk of mental disorders. One study found that those who consumed more Omega-3 fatty acids had a higher volume of grey matter in the brain, supporting emotion and regulation (4)
Omega-3 can be found in oily fish such as salmon and sardines, nuts, seeds and fortified plant products.
However, oily fish can often contain heavy metals leading to toxicity and fish oil supplements present essential fatty acids in triglyceride form, containing a lot of impurities that can build up in the body over time.
Omegabiocell369 is a 100% plant-based, ultra-pure oil providing ethyl esters of essential fatty acids Omega-3,6 and 9. This oil is created using a unique patented technology which means that the essential fatty acids have high bioavailability and bioretention, providing longer lasting health benefits. It can be drizzled over salads or cooked vegetables or added to morning oats and smoothies to increase your intake of brain-boosting essential fatty acids.
Meditation can be used to help you relax, aid concentration or improve focus and concentration. Meditation has been shown to help reduce cortisol levels, linked to stress and changes in brain structure and function. 87% provides app recommendations, which can support you through a guided meditation such as ‘Calm’ and ‘Headspace’.
- INCREASE PHYSICAL MOVEMENT
Studies have been conducted and shown that exercise not only aids cognitive flexibility but also sharpens the mind and aids memory (5) leading to a healthier brain. This includes walking briskly (6) for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Most studies are linked to the benefits of aerobic activity on brain health, which has been shown to help reverse structural changes that occur in the brain with ageing. High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to increase mitochondrial capacity. However, stretching and toning exercises including yoga can be used to benefit the mind, reduce inflammation and bring the body back to balance.
The feel-good, mood-enhancing effects of exercise are very powerful to improve mental health. This is related to molecules including kynurenine; which helps create resilience, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF); that promotes the growth of new neurons and other components that play a role in mood regulation.
If you feel like you are lacking in any of the nutrients mentioned or that your cells may benefit from more movement, take the leap and reconnect with your body.
A combination of better lifestyle choices supports you at the cellular level, improving cognitive function and keeping you mentally fit.
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