Avoiding the Cognitive Decline

Recently I attended a lecture at Reading University by the psychology & clinical language sciences department regarding ‘The Secrets of Healthy Ageing’

I had not realised that the brain starts on its cognitive decline after the age of 20. This seemed very young to me although if we do the majority of our learning in the first three years of our lives then I suppose starting to decline from this age is reasonable.

We were told that the main areas we need to concentrate on if we are to assist ourselves during the decline are:

  • Brain Training
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

Professor Ryuta Kawashima spoke about daily tasks that will assist the pre-frontal cortex part of the brain and improve metacognition, memory and attention. He advised us to:

  • Read newspaper articles out loud and as fast as you can for 5 minutes each day
  • Play games like rock, paper, scissors as fast as you can
  • Play number memory games with family members and partners, like repeating number sequences and reversing the order

He also stated that too much television affects the brain and will assist the cognitive decline.

Professor Jeremy P.E. Spencer spoke about nutrition and how certain foods with ‘flavonoids’ in them can improve blood flow and have a positive effect on brain function.

He advised that foods such as Blueberries, oranges, broccoli and the skins of apples and pears contain flavonoids and help to lower blood pressure.  Dark chocolate is good for vascular and cognitive health.

He also recommended drinking green and black tea, red wine and champagne (in moderation) and eating citrus fruits is good for the heart.

To maintain a healthy brain we need to:

  • Eat a diet rich in fruit and veg (5+ a day) that is brightly coloured and astringent
  • Check food labels and avoid being misled by commercial terms around ‘Superfoods’
  • Aim for variety, don’t over consume and combine with exercise

Carien Van Reekum Ph.D talked about exercise and how it can help the brain with speed, reasoning, memory, and vocabulary.

One of the best forms of exercise is cycling to help promote cognitive function and changes in our well being. She talked about the Cycleboom Trial and how it positively impacted our brain cognition compared to several other exercise activities.

The presentation was very informative and I am sure it will assist me and also my coaching clients concerning their well-being.

If you want to make some changes and are struggling to reach your goals then please contact me.

Have a great week!