Researchers today tell us a decline in brain function is not necessarily an inevitable part of growing older. Researchers have identified five functions that appear to be the first to decline with aging:

• attention
• working memory (amount of information you can work with without losing track)
• Understanding complex text
• making inferences/drawing conclusions
• putting information into memory and retrieving it

The aspect of your brain function that typically begins to decline first is connected with your processing capacity (working memory)
Exercising your brain is essential for maintaining optimal function. Learning and using new skills, adopting new and varied daily routines, and engaging in creative activities stimulate brain activity and new neural connections.

3 factors play a powerful role in maintaining sharp mental function, even as you age:
1. Exercise…
• helps neutralize the harmful effects of stress. (boosts brain chemicals, protects brain from effects of stress hormones)
• increases insulin sensitivity
• lifts mood. (mood can affect memory/cognition)
• improves learning. (Exercise increases brain chemicals that help make new brain cell
2.Stress….(Need to tame it)
• When cortisol is continually elevated, it can lead to less-than-optimal memory function. So manage stress with yoga, meditation, deep breathing, etc
3. Optimal Diet…. Eating high-glycemic index foods such as grains, sugars and processed carbohydrates causes surges and crashes in blood sugar, leading to an uneven fuel supply to your brain.

Some of the best foods for promoting optimal brain function:

Fish (wild caught salmon is least contaminated) for Omega 3s (building blocks for brain tissue)
• Berries (rich in antioxidants- protect the brain from oxidative stress) (In other studies, diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.)
• Eggs and Dairy (rich source of lecithin, choline and vitamin B12, all important brain nutrients)
• Certain nutsRich in omega-3 DHA, walnuts help support cognitive performance in adults.

Super Brain Substances that Promote Optimal Brain Function
Just a handful of important foods to consider for healthy cognitive function. What makes these foods so valuable are a few specific nutrients. Studies suggest that these nutrients promote optimal brain function. These nutrients include:

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid, which is an essential part of the membranes that surround all your body’s cells. PS enables cells to move nutrients into and cellular waste out of each living cell in your body. Abundant in your brain and in the membranes of your brain cells, PS is important for brain functions such as memory, judgment, and reasoning. As a building block for your brain’s approximately 100 billion nerve cells, PS is one of the most critical nutrients for optimal brain health. Multiple human studies, including many double-blind trials, indicate benefits of PS for promoting optimal…

Memory, learning, concentration, word recall, and other cognitive functions in the middle-aged and elderly.
Mood among elderly women.
Exercise recovery in healthy young men, reducing circulating stress hormones such as cortisol from overtraining.

Choline is another phospholipid and essential component of your cell membranes. It’s also the precursor for acetylcholine, which is one of the major chemical messengers for memories, thoughts, and other brain functions.
There are various forms of choline, but GPC (Glycerophosphocholine) is the bioactive form of choline. Unlike the other forms of choline, GPC is the form that has substantial clinical evidence behind it for its direct effect on healthy brain functions.
GPC is naturally occurring in limited quantities in eggs, milk, nuts, fish, certain vegetables, organ meats, as well as in human breast milk.
Essential fatty acids (e.g. EPA, DHA) are critical to your brain and overall health but cannot be made by your body. You must get them from your diet (fish, walnuts, egg yolks, etc) DHA appears to have a central role in nerve and brain cell function .
DHA is a long-chained fatty acid and is richly concentrated in your brain and eyes. One of the major building blocks for brain cells, DHA is especially important for rapidly developing brains in children under age two and emerging research suggests that it is a major factor in promoting optimal behavior and learning in children.
In an epidemiological study at a major university in 2007 among a very large group of elderly Americans, those with the highest blood levels of DHA experienced better cognitive health over a nine-year period. Antioxidants protect the brain and the rest of the body from oxidative stress and free radical damage. Antioxidants come in many varieties. Eat your fruits and vegetables my friends!
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By | 2012-10-03T11:30:57+00:00 October 3rd, 2012|Articles|