What Is Cognitive Fitness?
Cognitive fitness -a state of optimized ability to reason, remember, learn, plan, and adapt. Cognitive fitness will help you be more open to new ideas and alternative perspectives. The more cognitively fit you are, the better you are able to make decisions, solve problems, and deal with stress and change.
Lifestyle Choices and Exercises can Enhance Cognitive Fitness
The health of your brain is not merely the product of childhood experiences and genetics but it reflects your adult choices and experiences, Recent neuroscientific research shows that you can strengthen your brain's anatomy, neural networks, and cognitive abilities, and prevent functions such as memory from deteriorating as you age.
Mental workouts are the key. You can alter the physical makeup of your brain by learning new skills. Certain attitudes, lifestyle choices, and exercises can enhance cognitive fitness. Many evidences demonstrated that physical exercise (PE) affects brain plasticity, influencing cognition and wellbeing Brain-imaging studies indicate that certain activities such as playing a cello, juggling, speaking a foreign language, and driving a taxicab helps to expand your neural systems and makes them more communicative.. It will give you the capacity to change your behavior and realize your goals.
Role of Nutritious Diet To Improve Cognitive Fitness
As people age, there occurs a decline in their cognitive skills and brain function. Though there are no magic pills to prevent it, studies often highlight the effectiveness of a healthy dietary pattern to improve the condition.
Following a dietary pattern that includes a lot of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish and legumes can help. Dietitians recommend a healthy dietary pattern as a preventive measure in this aspect. The emphasis is to consume healthy fats, such as olive oil or canola and derive protein from plant sources and fish.
The key components that are particularly known to support brain health are B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Other brain healthy nutrients include vitamin K, folate, lutein and beta carotene.
That being said, certain foods in this overall scheme are particularly rich in healthful components like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, flavonoids and antioxidants, which are known to boost brain health resulting in better mental functioning.
Below are some of the foods that are especially good for improving brain function and cognitive skills
- Nuts and Seeds
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolates
- Fatty fish (Salmon, sardines, herring etc.)
- Green leafy vegetables (Kale, spinach, collards and broccoli)
Research suggests that green leafy vegetables which are rich sources of folate, vitamin K, lutein and beta carotene may help to slow down cognitive decline .
Nuts are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats. Walnuts contain a high amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid. A 2015 study from UCLA linked higher walnut consumption to improved cognitive test scores. Alpha-linolenic acid helps lower blood pressure and protects arteries. Other plant based sources include avocados and flax seed.
Most brain friendly foods are heart healthy too. In a 2012 study, it’s found that women who consumed two or more servings of flavonoid rich foods such as strawberries and blueberries each week delayed memory decline by up to two-and-a-half years. Caffeine consumption also has been proved to improve cognitive skills and the ability to memorize things.
In fact, It is not a single food that yields the best results associated with better brain health, heart health or overall health, but a combination of such healthy and nutritious food items.
Experience Makes The Brain Grow
Findings from the rapidly expanding body of neuroscience research as well as from well-established research in psychology and other mental health fields indicate that experience makes the brain grow. You can maintain an engaged and creative brain by working hard at play, searching for patterns, and seeking novelty and innovation and can delay senescence for years.
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