As the number of people aged 45 and older grows every year, the focus of improving overall health grows as well for this age group. As one ages, it is important to not only focus on physical health, but also cognitive health. This is why we have called upon two local experts to help us inform our patients on how to improve their cognitive health.
You have read our previous blogs about cognitive health and have had visits with our Audiologists. So, we are certain you know by now that treating your hearing loss can improve your cognitive health. Many studies have proven that an untreated hearing loss in midlife is the largest modifiable risk factor for dementia. Treating one’s hearing loss can slow down one’s cognitive decline, keep one’s social life active, and ward off depression and social isolation. Researchers at the University of Melbourne tested the use of hearing aids in those with hearing loss. The results of their testing showed that 97.3% of participants showed either clinically significant improvement or stability in their executive function.
Nutrition is incredibly important in regards to the aging process. Brad Beatty, Lead Dietitian and owner of Case Specific Nutrition in Altoona, PA points out that beyond weight management and management of nutrition related disease, your diet also can help or hurt your long term cognitive health. Below are some foods that have been shown to have a positive impact on cognitive health (please note, recommendations are general, and you should speak with a doctor/dietitian before making any significant dietary changes):
Green Leafy Vegetables – Green leafy veggies such as kale and spinach are packed with vitamin k, antioxidants, and other vitamins. Try including a serving of these every 1 – 2 days if able.
Berries – Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants and fiber. Try including these 1 – 2x/week if able.
Various Nuts – Nuts such as walnuts and almonds are filled with healthy unsaturated fats that are good for your heart and brain! Try including a variety of nuts in your diet. Aim to have 3 – 5 servings a week if able.
Olive Oil – Olive oil is another food that is loaded with healthy unsaturated fats that are good for your heart and mind. Aim to use olive oil for cooking if able.
Whole Grains – Whole grains such as whole wheat bread is loaded with fiber which is great for your digestive system and mind. Try making most of the grains you eat whole grains!
The above are just a few of the foods to include (if able) that can benefit long term cognitive health. Beatty suggests having a discussion with your doctor/dietitian to see if you could benefit.
Did you know that yoga can contribute to cognitive health? YES, it’s true! Yoga has been shown to have positive neurological and mental health benefits. A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga practice on brain structure found that regular practice was associated with anatomical changes in the frontal cortex, hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex and insula – all areas of the brain implicated in aging-related cognitive decline.
Sharon Green, owner and director of Bloom Yoga & Wellness in Altoona, PA states that yoga can support cognitive health by changing the brain in four ways:
- By being repetitious
- Providing Novelty/Variety
- By becoming emotionally engaged
- Providing focused awareness
Not only does yoga support cognitive health, it has also been shown to improve balance and agility!
So, as you focus in on your physical health, don’t forget about your cognitive health! Reach out to Lemme Audiology Associates, Case Specific Nutrition and Bloom Yoga and Wellness to find out more information regarding how to keep your cognition healthy or how to improve it.
Lemme Audiology Associates – (814) 941-7770 – LemmeAudiology.com
Case Specific Nutrition – (814) 201-6170 – CaseSpecificNutrition.com
Bloom Yoga & Wellness – (814) 943-2333 – BloomHereNow.com
ScienceDaily. (2020, February 26). Hearing aids may delay cognitive decline. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200226171106.htm.
Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, et al. MIND diet slows cognitive decline with aging. Alzheimers Dement. 2015;11(9):1015-1022. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2015.04.011 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4581900/)
Tremblay, S. (2018, December 6). Does nutrition affect cognitive function? Healthy Eating | SF Gate. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrition-affect-cognitive-function-6132.html.
Brinsley J, Schuch F, Lederman O, Girard D, Smout M, Immink MA, et al. Effects of yoga on depressive symptoms in people with mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2020;bjsports-2019-101242.
Gothe NP, Khan I, Hayes J, Erlenbach E, Damoiseaux JS. Yoga Effects on Brain Health: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature. Brain Plast. 2019;5(1):105–22