Do our brains naturally shrink as we age?
Yes, they do! But, we can slow down the shrinkage rate and cognitive decline by eating foods that support brain health and exercising our brains.
The food we eat impacts how well your mind and body can function. For example, a diet poor in Omega-3’s can contribute to higher rates of brain aging, which can result in brain shrinkage. Brain scans show how brains lose volume at higher rates when an insufficient amount of Omega-3’s is consumed.
Regular exercise is another activity that may help protect people from brain shrinkage as they get older. Clinical studies are reporting how physical exercise induces positive structural and functional changes in the brain.
Meditation is known to reduce stress, improve emotional health, and reduce age-related memory loss. A randomized controlled trial reported meditation practice or music listening can significantly enhance both subjective memory function and objective cognitive performance in adults with cognitive decline.
In summary, here are the 3 things to help slow down brain shrinkage:
- Eat foods high in omega-3’s like salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts
- Exercise regularly like walking, gardening, or biking
- Conduct spiritual practice of choice like meditation or listening to music
We may not be able to stop brain shrinkage, but we can help slow it down and increase our quality of life.
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Innes, K.E., Selfe, T.K., Khalsa, D.S., Kandati, S. (2017). Meditation and music improve memory and cognitive function in adults with subjective cognitive decline: a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Alzheimers Dis, 56(3), 899-916. doi: 10.3233/JAD-160867
Mandolesi, L., Polverino, A., Montuori, S., Foti, F., Ferraioli, G., Sorrentino, P., Sorrentino, G. (2018). Effects of physical exercise on cognitive functioning and wellbeing: biological and pyschological benefits. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 509. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00509
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