As people age their body ages with them and that is something that cannot be denied. A lot of hormonal changes occur and people and more exposed to a variety of diseases. But out of all things, changes that might happen to our brain as years’ pass might be the most important. In life no one likes to run out on things and that is especially if it might be health related.
Brain shrinkage or the loss of gray and white matter mass might be caused by few other factors, with some being related to the natural process and the other ones to our daily activities. When brain shrinkage occurs our cognitive functions are reduced which mostly results in memory loss and inability to focus on things.
We all know how hard can it be when you have a word at the top of your tongue, and it just seems to slip away. Well once your brain starts shrinking it becomes a common occurrence. And as the brain is one of the organs that we know the least about you can realize how important is it to take good care of it. So there are few questions being raised that are related to this, with one being what can cause brain shrinking and the other how can it be prevented?
What causes brain shrinking?
So with brain shrinking being a more common issue now than ever it might seem crucial to see what can cause this type of occurrence:
- First and foremost, brain shrinkage aka the loss of neurons happens as a part of normal aging process. It is said that brain loses 1 % of its mass for every 10 years that pass, and after the age of 60 it loses 1 % every year. But still even older people could perform all activities that might ask for cognitive skills only in a less efficient way.
- The other thing is that brain atrophy might come as a consequence of a stroke, disease or any other kind of brain injury. The fact that blood flow to the brain is reduced results in a loss of neurons.
- Furthermore, lack of healthy sleep can cause the brain to lose mass. Although you maybe thought that the only consequence of your sleeping less than 6 hours is that you might feel sluggish and a bit deconcentrated it is apparently not true.
- And smoking or alcohol abuse can also lead to brain shrinking as chemicals in these substances directly affect neurons in a negative way.
- Last, but certainly not least is nutrition. A diet that is high in refined foods, like sugar, wheat flour or processed meat can disrupt brain activity and functioning.
Now that we know what can cause brain shrinkage we can also tell you that in some way it is linked to diabetes and high blood pressure as well. The best memory vitamins are B12 and people often opt for these supplements in order to enhance their cognitive skills. And as nutrition is something that we can directly effect on, the question is what changes can we make to prevent brain shrinkage?
Foods to prevent brain shrinkage
Studies have shown that diet rich in proteins and antioxidants is crucial for healthy brain functioning and that it can prevent brain atrophy as well. Taking this in consideration, some say that the Atkin’s diet might be the best there answer on the question how to improve memory through foods, so let’s see what are those protein-rich foods that might enhance your cognitive skills:
1) Oily Fish– First of all, oily fish likes salmon or sardines are particularly rich in DHA an Omega 3 fatty acid that boots brain activity and cognitive skills. By keeping the brain lining healthy messages can easily pass between neurons. The best thing you can do is to eat fish at least 3 times a week.
2) Eggs- Eggs are a brain food as well mostly because of the choline they contain. Your brain uses choline to produce a neurotransmitter that is used in the process of memorizing things. And as we know that there are only egg white eating people we want to tell them that all nutrients are contained in egg yolk, so they should not shy away from it!
3) Avocados– Avocados are among the healthiest fruits that you can consume on a regular basis for improved brain function. Although they are renowned to be rich in fat, avocados are loaded with monosaturated fats that are essential in keeping your blood sugar levels steady. In addition, they are rich in folate and vitamin K which help prevent blood clots in the brain. Thus, they can prevent stroke and improve cognitive function, specifically memory and concentration.
4) Walnuts– The third type of foods are nuts especially walnuts which are rich in protein. You could already guess by its shape that it is really good for the brain functioning and it is true, as walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid which is important for DHA production. Also it contains ellagic acid a type of antioxidant that protects your brain from free radicals.
5) Dark Leafy Vegetables– Also dark green leafy vegetables like spinach or Swiss chard could prevent brain shrinkage as well. As a cup of raw spinach can provide you 20 % of the Vitamin E you need on daily basis and it is high in folic acid as well. Folic acid protects your brain for homocysteine which might be responsible for death of brain cells.
6) Dark Chocolate– Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The two helps in lowering blood pressure which improving the flow of blood into your heart and brain. However, avoid milk or white chocolates and opt for minimally processed dark chocolate with 70% of cocoa or more.
7) Seeds- Seeds like the sunflower or pumpkin ones are rich in Vitamin E and B12 as well, and in that way might be a good food to include in your diet. Plus, it is protein packed as well.
8) Chicken and Turkey– Eating chicken and turkey might aid in boosting memory as well, as these meats are high in L-Tyrosine an amino acid that is in charge of producing dopamine which is the key for alertness and memory.
9)Beef- Beef bone broth is another ultimate food that not only improves your gut, but also induces healing effects on your brain. From ancient times, its health benefits range from improving joint health to overcoming leaky gut and preventing food allergies. It is loaded with healing amino acids such as glycine and proline renowned for improving cognitive functions and the immune system.
10)Legumes– At the end legumes being rich both in Vitamin B and Iron, as well as magnesium which is important for cognitive functioning are a food that you need to include in your diet. Think about eating beans, green beans and lentils at least once every two days.
So at the end we should once again say that there are few factors that constantly influence the condition of your brain. You can have a certain influence on some, while on the other you cannot. And nutrition is something that you can change, applying a healthy balanced diet that is rich in protein and Omega 3 acids, and low in refined foods like sugar or processed meat. The Mediterranean diet is an excellent example of how a brain-healthy diet should look!
Meighan Sembrano is an enthusiast and passionate writer. She is a contributor to Consumer Health Digest. She is expertise in Beauty and skin care articles.
Also, have contributed in the health and fitness field. Her work gives an enthusiast twist to the readers. She resonates the readers with her simple and thoughtful words. You can follow Meighan on Twitter and Facebook.