We know we must work our muscles in order to keep our body healthy and functioning at it’s peak.
But, is it possible to keep our brain at it’s peak level as we age. What role do diet and exercise play – if any?
I happened upon a recent podcast by Dr. Tommy Wood, a US brain researcher evaluating scientific evidence and tips for pro-aging brain health!
Dr. Wood’s passion is studying the brains of newborns who’ve suffered trauma and translating that research into lessons we can use to help protect our brains as we age. But, how does this type of study help those of us who are well beyond “newborn”?
First, work on balance and coordination….you can increase gray matter into late life. Your brain remains flexible and ready to learn and stretch. This growth can be seen on an MRI!
Cognitive Decline is one of the first concerns of aging. Stay active and challenged. It’s very similar to exercise…if you stop moving, you lose muscle mass.
Focus on puzzles, word games and things that make your brain work. A daily Saduko is probably not enough. Anything that is challenging is great. Don’t make it too frustrating – that’s likely to make you quit. You can play your favorite games and add a physical activity (walking, running, skating, skiing…). Bottom line: Keep moving!
Learn a new skill. But, realize that the brain will get to a point that you need to add another skill to keep it growing. Once you master the new skill you will need another challenge to keep your brain mass growing.
How does your muscle-mass affect your aging brain? Dr. Wood again uses the growing newborn brain…as the baby begins to increase it’s muscle mass (growth) it’s brain has more “food” to increase and improve.
Insofar as eating for brain health or cognitive decline, Ketones (Ketogenic Diet) may help to heal damage to an aging brain tissue. A 2019 study by Dr. Wood indicates that cognitive injuries may be healed utilizing exogenous ketones to assist moving glucose into the brain. DHA is another avenue of treatment for cognitive decline. Certainly not necessary for the entire aging population. Please, as always check with your medical professional.
I will get ahold of the link for this Podcast.