Cognitive decline is a big fear as we all start to get older and for good reason. Losing ones memory, or certain verbal abilities, puts one at risk for losing one's independence.
Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a physical regiment helps to steer off decline as we have shared before in our blogs, but this video gives you an even more specific antidote to cognitive decline, which may put a smile on your face if you are a berry fan!
Watch the video below to learn more.
Blueberries were found to slow cognitive decline by 2.5 years - that should be enough of a reason to up your berry intake wouldn't you say?
We received a lovely newsletter from our friends from the SOS Mentor group that works to help teach our youth how to incorporate more nutritious foods into their diets and add healthier habits like yoga and meditation into their life. If you are unaware of this group please check out their website by clicking the link below.
In their newsletter they shared this video from NutritionFacts.org which provides information about the recommended amount of sugar intake and how much we are all truly consuming.
Why is sugar such an important topic to cover?
Well, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) over one third our the world's adult populations is obese and in 2015 there were an estimated 42 million children under the age of five who were diagnosed as over weight or obese.
Sugar, of course, is not the only reason for this increase, the lack of physical activity across the board also plays a role. However, the consumption of "free sugar" that which is added to our foods or that naturally exists in syrups and honeys does contribute greatly to our obesity issue.
Added sugars are empty calories - there is no nutritional benefit to consuming them and yet Americans and those all over the world are eating sometimes FIVE times the amount that is recommended.
In watching the video from NutritionFacts.org posted above- look at those final graphs... the WHO only wants 5-10% of your daily calories from added sugars and we are consuming far greater amounts.
Okay - now we know so lets all just quit sugar, right?
Well as the article posted by Huffington Post back in 2015 stated, that may be harder than we think.
Sugar effects our brain and when we eat it, we want more. We all agree sugar is pretty delicious, and those added sugars aren't doing anything to fill us up, so we go for seconds.
It is a pretty vicious cycle and hard to avoid with over 74% pf our packaged goods containing added sugars.
So what can we do?
Cut out the sugary drink first.
Truthfully they are the worst, consumed fast and contain more than one's daily recommended sugar intake.
Then start to read labels.
Find products that have less than 5 g of sugar per serving.
Incorporate as much whole foods as you can and start making your own sauces and dressing to be able to control the amount you add.
The WHO recommends 100 calories of added sugars or less for women and 150 calories or less for men.
Just remember that sugar is not the sweet friend it pretends to be...
If health is your goal sugar is definitely a foe.
This past July, the AARP wrote an article about common myths about our aging brains. The information was taken from a report by the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH).
The GCBH is a group of scientists, scholars, policy experts and health professionals.
The 7 myths they debunked were as follows:
Older people can't learn new things.
You're stuck with the brain you're born with.
Experts don't have a clue on how the brain works.
Dementia is inevitable as we age.
Learning a new language is for young people.
Older people are doomed to forget.
Memory training is enough.
The recent discoveries of neurogenesis, ability to grow new neurons, and neuroplasticity, ability for our brain to adapt and build new neurological connections, have made many of these myths easily dismissed.
Cognitive decline is a natural part of aging, but with the avoidance of disease we truly do have the power to control the rate at which that decline happens.
Studies before demonstrated that older adults were lacking in certain cognitive skills compared to their younger counterparts, however, many of these studies had the two age groups taking some type of test.
Younger adults are used to taking tests, many may even still be in school or just recently got out. Older adults may not have been is an examination setting for quite some time.
When scientists realized this, they revisited some of these studies and allowed for those older adults to partake in training and their cognitive scores increased.
This just shows that the "USE IT OR LOSE IT" mantra does have some truth to it.
Most decline happens in the areas we are no longer using as much, for some that may be language, others numbers.
The key is to continue to challenge your brain.
Take some advice from the AARP article - learn a new language, take up a musical instrument, or become a pro poker player!
Just remember that the more you use your brain the less you will lose.
And of course keep that body moving so that you can maintain your health and fend off any disease related declines.
If you want to read the whole AARP article you can find the link below.
Are you worried about your brain health? Are you worried about aging?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, the next question is - what are you doing daily to keep your body and brain healthy?
What most people do not realize is that a lot of the effects of aging are based on lifestyle.
Yes, genetics plays a role, as does circumstance - however our lifestyle choices can play a major role in the up keep of our health.
Exercise, good nutrition, proper sleep, staying social, and meditation or some other form of stress relief - these are all habits that we know help to improve brain and body health.
Which do you do daily?
Many people claim they do not have the time - work, family, obligations, etc.
But you said you are worried about your brain and aging, right?
If you strive to keep your brain and body healthy - these types of habits are necessary - FIT THEM IN!!! ... YOUR HEALTH DEPENDS ON IT!!
Ok, so where do you start?
Pick one. Focus on it and make it part of your routine.
Instead of eating out everyday of the week, make your own lunch- get back to cooking dinner.
Start or end your day with 10 minutes of brisk walking.
Set a bed time and stick to it!
Take 5 minutes a day to listen to relaxing music.
Whatever you do START!
Put your health FIRST!
Need a BRAIN BOOST? Well, it is time to lace up those sneakers and get exercising!
A study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that reviewed over 39 other studies of how exercise effects brain function. In this systematic review of research the authors found that physical exercise had a significant effect on brain health.
Exercise increases oxygen uptake and improves blood flow which help to bring nutrients to the brain to keep it functioning properly.
In the review of these studies, both aerobic and strength training demonstrated different types of improvement in brain function. Aerobic exercise helped to improve memory, while strength training helped to increase your executive function, i.e. decision making and problem solving.
Positive effects were demonstrated with even as little as two workout sessions a week of moderate intensity. However, the more exercise performed the better the cognitive improvement.
Positive change was seen even in those who already had some evidence of cognitive decline, which led the authors of this review to state that exercise may be one of the best prescriptions doctors can give their 50+ patients who have concerns about brain health.
All in all, exercise helps to keep your brain healthy, so if you are feeling a little foggy or want to keep your brain on task , start moving!!
Northey, J.M., Cherbuin N., & Pumpa K. L. (24 April 2017) Exercise interventions for cognitive function in adults older than 50: a systematic review with meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. Retrieved from: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2017/03/30/bjsports-2016-096587