New research has indicated that there are potential changes in our cognitive function as early as age 45. Cognitive function is defined as memory loss as opposed to lack of intelligence.
But is this true for everyone? Most certainly not!
Just like some people look their age, others can look (and act) older or younger. A study on cognitive decline by the British Medical Journal showed a “measurable” cognitive decline in people in their mid 40’s. Apparently the amount was so small that it didn’t influence their daily function.
In our younger years, we can get away with eating junk food, drinking alcohol, late nights and stress to our bodies. As we age, our bodies change and adapt differently. Our liver, adrenals and immune system start to take a toll and get overwhelmed easily with accumulative stressors. We make more free radicals as we age which causes inflammation in blood vessels in our brain and throughout our circulation.
There is no evidence-based medicine or studies in terms of what lifestyle choices effect cognitive function in your 40’s.
We know that the cardiovascular system is closely related to brain function. So it just makes sense to do the same things that protect your heart to protect your brain. Here’s what you can do:
1. If you smoke… stop! It decreases blood flow to the brain and raises free radicals that accelerates the aging process.
2. Maintain a healthy weight to prevent diabetes. A recent japanese study showed an increased risk of dementia as well as Alzheimer’s disease when glucose levels get out of control.
3. Stress is toxic to the brain. Need I say more….Relax
4. Exercise– it’s good for you and increases circulation.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables- juice them, cook them or eat them raw. Just get them in you. They are loaded with anti-oxidants. Remember the free-radicals, they’re the bad guys.
6. Get some labs drawn. Have your doctor order a Vitamin D and thyroid level. Women should also check their estrogen level.
7. Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish (salmon), flaxseeds, krill, chia, butternuts and walnuts. They have anti-inflammatory effects.
8. Social Interaction and Community– studies have shown that people live longer when feeling connected to friends and community. It raises healthy hormones and lowers inflammation. It also just feels good.
Start living healthy now. It will pay off later.