"Brain Decline is NOT an Inevitable Part of Aging - 3 Things You Can Do"
You don't have to accept those frustrating and embarrassing "senior moments" as normal, because in this article you're going to discover 3 simple steps you can take to break all the rules, sharpen your mental function and promote the health of your brain as you age.* Plus: the ultimate stress buster everyone should know about...
Your brain is your most complex organ and it’s also the one most vulnerable to everyday stressors.
Stress, emotions, exposure to environmental factors, diet and lack of specific nutrients can all take a toll on your brain every day of your life.
All these stressors can impact your brain’s functioning. And when that happens, most people brush it off as “just growing older.”
Indeed, your cognitive function – which includes your ability to think, focus, concentrate and remember names and other important facts – can naturally begin to decline around the age of 40.
Some aspects of normal age-related cognitive decline can even begin in healthy young adults in their 20s and 30s.
But you needn’t accept these changes as “normal” as you grow older.
Researchers today tell us a decline in brain function is not necessarily an inevitable part of growing older. Rather, there’s much you can do to help promote optimal brain function as you age.*
Less-Than-Optimal Brain Function – What Do YOU Notice?
Researchers have identified five functions that appear to be the first ones to decline as a normal part of aging:
Processes requiring your attention
Working memory capability, or the amount of information you can work with without losing track
Understanding complex text
Making inferences and drawing conclusions
Putting information into memory and retrieving it later
The aspect of your brain function that typically begins to decline first is connected with your processing capacity or your working memory capability.
Wouldn't it be great if there were ways to help maintain or improve your working memory capability instead?*
3 Keys to Promoting Good Cognitive Function
I believe there is much you can do to help maintain optimal brain function, including your working memory capability.
To begin with, you must be sure you're covering the basics – the essential elements for optimal cognitive function.
Exercising your brain is essential for maintaining optimal function. Learning and using new skills, adopting new and varied daily routines, and engaging in creative activities stimulate brain activity and new neural connections.
In my opinion, these 3 factors play a powerful role in maintaining sharp mental function, even as you age:
Taming your emotional and mental stress
Fine-tuning your diet
I'll go into each of these in a bit more detail to equip you with useful information you can apply, starting today.
We'll also explore some exciting discoveries science has uncovered in the last few years for brain health.
How Exercise Promotes Your Brain Health
If you wish to help maintain a sharp mind as you age, it's critical that you regularly engage in some form of exercise.
Helps neutralize the harmful effects of stress. Exercise boosts levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Exercise may actually help protect your cells against the effects of stress hormones in your brain.
Increases insulin sensitivity. Exercise helps promote your body's normal receptivity to insulin. Resistance training in particular helps to promote normal insulin sensitivity.
Lifts your mood. Exercise has been shown to improve emotional state and mood, which can affect memory and cognitive function.
Improves your learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors that help make new brain cells.
Researchers at a well-known university have uncovered some clues as to why exercise is so good for your brain.
As you age, the stem cells in your brain tend to become less active and you produce fewer new cells, which may slow your brain function.
How Exercise Builds New Brain Cells
The most recent research suggests that when you exercise even in moderate amounts, you can trigger your brain to activate the division of stem cells and promote the production of new brain cells.
Not exercising, you say? Half of all people don't get enough exercise and one-fourth don't exercise at all, mainly due to time restraints.
It's not too late to get started. Even if you make the commitment today to start exercising regularly, it can be beneficial.
In fact, regular exercise, even initiated later in life, can help slow the aging process, including the aging of your brain. Exercise is that important.
Ideally you want to include variety in your exercise program. For a complete routine, try to incorporate strength training, aerobics, core-building activities, and stretching. I provide a wealth of information on my website to help you put together your perfect workout routine.
There's one type of exercise I favor most and that's Peak 8. With Peak 8, you get a far more effective workout than with aerobic exercises such as walking, running on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine.
And here's another thing you'll love about Peak 8. Because it's so efficient, you'll shave hours off your exercise time each week.
Whatever you choose to do, the most important thing is to get started today if you haven't already.
Controlling Your Mental and Emotional Stress for a Healthy Brain
When you feel stressed, your adrenal and pituitary glands go into their “flight or fight” mode and dump adrenaline, cortisol and dopamine into your bloodstream.
When there’s a false alarm – as is the case with most everyday stress – these powerful substances can overload your brain, meaning less-than-optimal health for your brain cells.
Cortisol in particular can be problematic when released too frequently in your brain.
When cortisol is continually present, it can lead to less-than-optimal memory function.
Too much cortisol can also affect your mood.
To avoid these unhealthy effects in your brain, I believe you must learn how to relax and allow your body to return to a healthy balance. When this happens, healthy brain chemicals can function optimally.
Promoting a healthy balance and banishing cortisol after an episode of stress is not difficult and gets easier with practice, even for those who find it difficult to relax.
The Ultimate Stress-Buster that I Believe Belongs in Everyone's Self-Help Arsenal
There are many techniques to choose from to help quiet your stress response and regain a healthy balance of brain chemicals. Qigong, meditation, and yoga are three very popular techniques that help many individuals maintain calm.
You want to find one that brings about positive emotions and thoughts and creates a sense of inner peace. Keep in mind that what works for your best friend may not be your ideal method.
Peace and calm protect precious
brain cells from unhealthy stress
In my clinical practice, I have tried a variety of methods, and have been exposed to many more (both traditional and alternative) through my medical background.
In my opinion, none have come close to the "Emotional Freedom Technique," or EFT.
EFT is a form of psychological acupressure that, while it may appear amazingly simple, can have positive effects in its ability to help reduce negative emotions while instilling positive ones.
The theory behind EFT is that lightly tapping with your fingertips along a special sequence of energy points can activate your body's bioenergy within a few short minutes.
The combination of positive mental focus on your identified concern and this physical stimulus to your body's biochemistry may help diminish your issue – be it stress, cravings, or emotional baggage– in a fast and expedient manner.
Interestingly, these energy points are finally being recognized by mainstream America.
No matter how devoted you are to perfecting your diet, exercise and lifestyle… you cannot expect to achieve optimal brain and total body health if emotional barriers stand in your way.
Last, But Not Least… Eating for Optimal Brain Function
Studies continue to shed light on how important diet and nutrition are for both the developing and the mature brain.*
In my opinion, choosing foods according to your Nutritional Type is important for promoting brain health as well as overall good health.
No matter your Type, I believe that you must clean up your diet. Eating high-glycemic index foods such as grains, sugars and processed carbohydrates causes surges and crashes in blood sugar, leading to an uneven fuel supply to your brain.
And blood sugar is closely related to insulin levels and insulin sensitivity.
A 2003 study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a connection between blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and memory.
Besides telling you what not to eat, research also suggests that you can boost your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into old age by adding "smart" foods into your daily eating regimen.
Add These "Smart" Foods to Your Diet to Support Your Brain Health Naturally
What are some of the best foods for promoting optimal brain function?
Fish Fish has long been regarded as the original “brain food,” but due to heavily polluted waters and less-than-ideal conditions on fish farms, one of the only fish I can now recommend is Wild-Caught Salmon. Wild salmon’s rich supply of omega-3 essential fatty acids with DHA and EPA promote optimal brain function by providing the building blocks for brain tissue. Salmon also contains phosphatidylserine (PS), a phospholipid that supports memory, judgment and reasoning.
Berries Super-rich in antioxidants, berries, especially blueberries, have been shown in animal studies to help protect the brain from oxidative stress and its ill effects.* In other studies, diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats. Other fruits high in antioxidants you may wish to include in your diet are acai, blackberries, cherries, kiwis, raspberries, and avocados. With berries and cherries especially, I recommend that you buy organic whenever available.
Eggs and Dairy Eggs and dairy are a rich source of lecithin, choline and vitamin B12, all important brain nutrients. Lecithin and choline are building blocks for brain and nerve cells.* Vitamin B12 may help maintain normal brain volume as you age.* Investigators at a prominent university reported that when rats were exposed to high amounts of choline in the womb, brain cells in regions associated with memory were larger and functioned more efficiently. When purchasing dairy, I recommend raw milk, cheese and yogurt from grass fed cows.
Certain Nuts Walnuts are tops when it comes to brain health. Rich in omega-3 DHA, walnuts help support cognitive performance in adults. Almonds and walnuts supply moderate amounts of brain health-supporting choline. Almonds and hazelnuts are good sources of vitamin E. In one study, participants who received vitamin E showed improvements in memory and verbal skills, as compared to placebo. Vitamin E may help promote normal cognitive function as you age.
Filtered Water No list of healthy brain substances would be complete without mentioning pure, clean water. Most people don’t realize how essential pure water is to their brain and their overall health. Your brain cells require adequate water to function. When you’re short on water, it’s difficult to focus. A lack of sufficient water can impair short-term memory function and the recall of your long-term memory. Plus, your brain depends on plentiful water to help combat the effects of elevated stress hormones and other substances. In my opinion, the type of water you drink matters. To find out more about the type of water I recommend, please visit my website.
Super Brain Substances that Promote Optimal Brain Function*
I've highlighted just a handful of important foods you may want to consider including in your diet for healthy cognitive function.
What makes these foods so valuable are a few specific nutrients. Studies suggest that these nutrients promote optimal brain function.*
These nutrients include:
DHA and EPA
One of the Ultimate Building Blocks for Your Brain's 100 Billion Nerve Cells… Do You Dare Run Short?*
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid, which is an essential part of the membranes that surround all your body's cells. PS enables cells to move nutrients into and cellular waste out of each living cell in your body.*
Abundant in your brain and in the membranes of your brain cells, PS is important for brain functions such as memory, judgment, and reasoning.* As a building block for your brain's approximately 100 billion nerve cells, I firmly believe that PS isone of the most critical nutrients for optimal brain health.*
Those 100 billion nerve cells are your largest and most active cells in your entire body. Their membrane systems transmit electrical signals throughout your brain, spinal cord, and into your limbs along as many as 100 trillion pathways.
And all of these electrical signals require a steady supply of PS.*
PS helps promote an optimal response in your brain to the stressors I mentioned earlier.*
Multiple human studies, including many double-blind trials, indicate benefits of PS for promoting optimal…
Memory, learning, concentration, word recall, and other cognitive functions in the middle-aged and elderly.*
Mood among elderly women.*
Exercise recovery in healthy young men, reducing circulating stress hormones such as cortisol from overtraining.*
How You Can Find Phosphatidylserine (PS)
Where can you find PS?
While your body does produce some phosphatidylserine, you must rely on diet for the levels you need for optimal function.* Your body requires more PS when you're exposed to environmental stressors and poor eating habits.*
And as you grow older, your needs increase, as your ability to digest and metabolize phosphatidylserine efficiently diminishes.
Here are some of the highest PS-containing foods:
PS Content (mg/100g)
Chicken leg (with skin)
**figures taken from USDA Database
Most people are not willing to eat organ meats (nor do I recommend them from conventionally-raised animals). And I don't suggest you use soy lecithin because of the negative qualities associated with soy.
The Unfortunate Reduction of PS in Your Food Today
Overall, the average daily PS intake from the diet in the U.S. falls around 130 mg. This level is in stark contrast to those seen only 30 years ago, which were nearly double.
Why such a drastic change?
Mostly a change in eating habits. In an attempt to reduce their cholesterol levels, folks have followed their doctors' orders and have shied away from good sources of PS, such as liver, whole milk and egg yolks.
Many doctors today still advise their patients to lower their total cholesterol levels, although I believe that scientific research doesn't support this. I believe it can be a potentially dangerous practice.
Another cause for reduced levels of PS in the food supply falls on food production technology. The technology used in today's production of fats and oils can decrease their phospholipids, including PS.
If you follow a vegetarian diet, you are subjecting yourself to an even greater risk of PS-deficiency. Vegetarian diets tend to supply less than 50 mg of phosphatidylserine.
Further, when you get too few omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, you can reduce the amount of phosphatidylserine in your brain by almost a third. In doing so, you can reduce your brain's ability to process, store and retrieve information optimally.*
Choline – Another Essential Key to Optimal Brain Health*
Choline is another phospholipid and essential component of your cell membranes. It's also the precursor for acetylcholine, which is one of the major chemical messengers for memories, thoughts, and other brain functions.*
This makes choline very important for the optimal functioning of your brain and for the number of changes that occur during the natural aging process.*
There are various forms of choline, but GPC (Glycerophosphocholine) is the bioactive form of choline. Unlike the other forms of choline, GPC is the form that has substantial clinical evidence behind it for its direct effect on healthy brain functions.*
GPC is naturally occurring in limited quantities in eggs, milk, nuts, fish, certain vegetables, organ meats, as well as in human breast milk.
Milk and organ meats are clearly your best sources, but as I've already advised, I recommend avoiding organ meats from non-organically grown animals.
Here are the amounts of bioactive choline (GPC) you can find in your daily diet:
GPC (Bioactive Choline) content (mg/100g):
Whole egg, raw
Beef liver, cooked
Chicken liver, cooked
7.5 (18.75 mg in 8 oz.)
Red cabbage, raw
Sweet potato, baked
Beans, pinto, cooked
**figures taken from USDA Database for the Choline Content of Common Foods
Although it is available in a limited quantity of foods, these sources may provide insufficient amounts for optimal brain health, especially as you age.*
For instance, to get the same levels that the “normal” American got from his or her diet only 30 years ago, you’d have to consume 13 glasses of milk!
DHA and EPA – Two Omega-3 Superstars
Essential fatty acids are critical to your brain and overall health but cannot be made by your body.* You must get them from your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids supply the vital compounds, DHA and EPA.
DHA appears to have a central role in nerve and brain cell function and emerging research suggests that limited availability can lead to less-than-optimal cognitive function.*
DHA is a long-chained fatty and is richly concentrated in your brain and eyes. One of the major building blocks for brain cells, DHA is especially important for rapidly developing brains in children under age two and emerging research suggests that it is a major factor in promoting optimal behavior and learning in children.*
As you age, the composition of your nerve cells' membrane may change, and as a result, the membrane may become more rigid and less able to transmit electrical charges as easily from nerve cell to nerve cell.
Reduction of this critical communication between nerve cells may lead to less-than-optimal functioning of your brain and nervous system.
In an epidemiological study at a major university in 2007 among a very large group of elderly Americans, those with the highest blood levels of DHA experienced better cognitive health over a nine-year period.* Of course, epidemiological studies measure a correlation and not causation.
The top 25 percent of those with the highest blood DHA received about 180 mg of DHA a day, according to researchers.