Everyone expects to slow down as they get older, including their mental faculties. Age-related dementia and the increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly have prompted scientists to take a closer look at the causes of cognitive decline.
There is a correlation between diet, lifestyle, toxins in the environment and brain health. There are things you can do to keep your brain (and the rest of you) healthy by paying attention to your bodily needs. Getting enough sleep and exercise goes without saying.
Specifically, vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy gut flora are part of a normal diet and optimizing these will help maintain cognitive faculties.
Additionally, there are three foods that you may not be getting any or enough of that have been shown to prevent cognitive decline.
1. Coconut oil
Once dismissed as having too much fat, it turns out this is one of the healthiest things you can eat and it doesn’t take much (one to two tablespoons a day) of this versatile oil to reap its nutritional benefits.
It tastes good, too!
Coconut oil keeps your brain healthy as its medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are a source of energy to maintain an adequate fuel supply. Make sure the coconut oil is raw and organic.
2. Bacopa monnieri
This herb isn’t new to Ayurvedic medicine and has been known to treat cognitive conditions as well as epilepsy, asthma, and ulcers.
The herb is known by many names including Brahmi, Indian pennywort, and water hyssop. A National Institutes of Health report of a 2002 study concluded that:
“The results show a significant effect of the Brahmi [bacopa monniera] on a test for the retention of new information. Follow-up tests showed that the rate of learning was unaffected, suggesting that Brahmi decreases the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information.”
In addition, Brian Kairalla at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine published a paper recommending further large-scale studies after his research concluded that “its [bacopa monnieri] potential to play a role in protecting or delaying age-related memory decline or delay Alzheimer’s disease onset and/or progression” is significant .
He also mentioned:
“It is interesting to note that cognitive gains made in the Raghav study that involved patients with insidious age-related cognitive impairment were maintained even after discontinuing the intervention.”
In other words, the treatment was healing.
They say that some foods look similar to the parts of the body they most support: tomato for the heart, sliced onion for blood cells, sliced carrot for the eye, and—not surprisingly—walnut for the brain.
A study published in the United Kingdom showed that people who ate half a cup of walnuts each day for two months scored significantly higher in an inferential reasoning test.
It’s the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and vitamin E found in the nut that are the source of the improvement: they are known antioxidants.
We want to age gracefully and enjoy good health; feeding your body to bolster its own ability to maintain and heal will assist you in doing so.