Brain and Age – Are They Related?

After hitting 30’s, I seemed to forget my car keys quite often, only to find it in the fridge. Maybe it was my 140 kg frame as well which contributed to the issue, since that was the only thing on my mind always. I was mentored by Dev in SQUATS and I transformed quite a bit. But along with the physical transformation, my mind actually seems to be much sharper now!

So is it the lifestyle that makes a difference to your thinking processes, or is it solely your age? Let’s explore.

In today’s age, there is a growing sense of acceptance that as one ages, health-related problems are bound to come. Many of these are heavily influenced by our lifestyle, our diet, and finally our genetic makeup. One very important part of our body is our brain, and when it comes to brain capacity, the cases of forgetfulness and memory loss as we grow older are becoming more and more common these days. Though Alzheimer’s and a few other brain diseases are largely influenced by genetics (and we can’t do much about them), having a fit and active brain ensures drastic reduction of problems such as memory loss and forgetfulness.

What makes the brain fit?

A simple thing to understand is what our brain needs to remain fit. The fitness of the brain is not only through mental and emotional aspects, but also physical activity and nutrition!

Exercise: When we exercise, nerve cells the release proteins which stimulate release of chemicals such as Dopamine and Serotonin, which not only elevate the mood but also help in improved cognitive functions as well as better memory.

Research has found that moderate to vigorous exercise causes the oxygenated blood levels increase, which helps in integrating segregated functional domains of the brain, that is, improves the neural pathways in the brain connecting different segments such as memory, cognition, coordination, balance etc. It is obvious that this will have a positive impact on the overall brain functioning. 

Nutrition: The brain consumes an immense amount of energy as compared to the rest of the body. Thus, the mechanisms that are involved in the transfer of energy and nutrients from foods to neurons are likely to be fundamental to the control of brain function even in older people.

Not just physical exercise, but the food we eat heavily influences brain health. Take the example of Avocados, which are a good source of Vitamin E – a rich intake of Vitamin E is known to reduce cognitive delay.

Turmeric which consists of Curcumin is known to cross the blood-brain barrier and blocks Nf-Kb, a molecule which is known to cause chronic inflammation, which is a known precursor to various brain diseases.

Omega 3 fatty acids also affect the synaptic plasticity and cognition aspects of the brain. Vegetables contain a variety of antioxidants which protect the brain from damage and deterioration.

Sugars, on the other hand, are known to be damaging to the brain. Sugars increase oxidative stress in the brain and lead to impaired brain functioning.

Hence, it’s important that a healthy lifestyle in terms of physical activity as well as a good, balanced diet – both are maintained to ensure optimal brain functions especially as age advances. Go out, be active, play around with your grandkids. Exercise to whatever level your body allows you to, but stay active always. Ensure that your diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, milk and oats (Milk and Oats are known to be a good source of tryptophan which is the basic amino acid needed in the synthesis of Serotonin).  Also, avoid processed and refined foods and sugars.

 

A healthy diet and an active lifestyle is not only the way to a healthy head but also a happy one.

 

Article Credits – Waqaas Rumani

Businessman & a SQUATS Academy scholar