Science-Proven Habits That Boost Cognition
There is no doubt that we are living in the midst of a technological revolution. And, with the internet at our fingertips, it appears that pure brainpower is becoming outdated. But, whether we like it or not, our brain ability is subject to the adage “use it or lose it”; if we rely too heavily on technology as an external hard drive, we become more prone to age-related cognitive loss.
The good news? It is never too early to begin safeguarding your brain! And there’s no longer any need to worry if brain games like Sudoku in the Sunday papers are actually good for your brain. Or, better yet, if literal “brain nourishment” exists. We’ve done all of the research. So, without further ado, here’s some truly brain-boosting stuff you should be aware of.
Concentrate on biochemical parameters connected with cognition.
Your brain, as the “pilot” of the body, deserves a lot of energy. However, unlike other organs, it cannot use protein or fat as fuel; only glucose will suffice. As a result, maintaining optimum blood glucose levels is critical for good cognitive performance and function.
Vitamin B12 & Folate
B-vitamins B12 and B9 (often known as folate) are also extremely important. They play important roles in the creation of DNA, RNA, and red blood cells, all of which are required for optimal brain growth and function. These vitamins also have an effect on the myelination of your nervous system, which protects your brain cells and nerves from deterioration over time.
Elevated cortisol levels (called the stress hormone) have a disproportionately large impact on your body and brain. High cortisol levels are linked to emotions of worry and despair, which can eventually contribute to cognitive deterioration.
Our “Improve Cognition” aim can help you attain optimal brain health by focusing on these biomarkers and providing science-backed lifestyle advice. To give you a taste of what your “Improve Cognition” journey can look like, here are some basic changes you can make right now for a healthy mind.
Follow the MIND Diet
The MIND diet is a cross of the popular Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, aka high blood pressure) diets, with an emphasis on foods and nutrients proven to protect the brain. According to research, the MIND diet considerably decreases the pace of cognitive deterioration.
So, what’s the secret sauce, or lack thereof, in this diet? It is high in green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, legumes, whole grains, fish, chicken, and olive oil, and low in red or processed meat and other unhealthy fat sources.
Eat more fish or take a fish oil supplement
Because of the high content of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish, the MIND diet encourages its consumption. Omega-3 fatty acids preserve brain cells, and several studies have demonstrated that consuming one or more servings of fish per week is connected with improved age-related cognition.
You’re not a huge admirer of fish? Supplements can provide similar benefits. A 4g dose of fish oil or omega-3 supplement is a good place to start.
As usual, talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.
Eat foods high in flavonoids
Flavonoids are potent antioxidants in both the body and the brain. They can be present in foods such as green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, tea, red wine, and berries, and studies have shown that they help increase cognitive performance.
Try eating blueberries for breakfast, a piece of dark chocolate for a mid-afternoon snack, or a glass of red wine for night. In the name of health, wine and chocolate? Yes, you read that correctly.
Get regular physical activity
Physical activity is one of the most well-studied ways to improve your brainpower. According to research, incorporating 30-minutes of moderate-intensity fitness into your daily routine can improve cognitive performance.
Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise, is particularly effective since it combines physical, cognitive, social, and meditative elements.
Play brain games
Yes, regular completion of brain games such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, or even video games has been linked to an increase in brainpower. These games, in particular, can increase both executive function (the mental ability to accomplish multi-step tasks) and processing speed in both young and old persons.
What’s your next move? Download a brain game app on your phone, put a Sudoku book in your work bag and work on it on the train, or spend Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee and the weekly crossword puzzle. Your brain will be grateful!