Senior man reading newspaper outside

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 seems to be much sharper now. So is it the lifestyle that makes a difference, 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 though are heavily influenced by our lifestyle, Genetics and Diet we follow during the course of our existence. One very important part of our body is our brain. The cases of forgetfulness and memory loss as we grow older are becoming more and more common these days.

Genetics, Lifestyle and what we eat heavily influences our brain health as we age. While Alzheimer’s and a few other Brain diseases are quite a bit influenced by genetics (Though we can’t do much about them), but a fit and active brain ensure drastic reduction of problems such as memory loss and forgetfulness.

A simple thing to understand is what our brain needs to remain fit. The fitness of the brain is not only through mental & emotional aspects, but also physical activity and Nutrition. When we exercise, nerve cells the release proteins which stimulate release of chemicals such as Dopamine, Serotonin which not only elevate mood but also help in cognitive functions as well as memory. The oxygenated blood levels increase which improve the oxygen supply to the brain and improve the brain functioning.

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

Memory loss and forgetfulness in older adults is clear sign of deterioration of brain function. While genetics is not something we can control, but other aspects such as physical activities and proper nutrition go a long way in maintaining brain health as we age.  

Research has found that moderate to Vigorous exercise improved the oxygenate blood levels which in integrating segregated functional domains of the brain, in short, improves the neural pathways in the brain connecting different segments such as memory, cognition, coordination, balance etc.

Not just physical exercise, even the food we eat heavily influences brain health. Take the example of Avacoda which is a good source of Vitamin E, which 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 are known to cause brain diseases.

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

Sugars are 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 good balanced diet, is maintained to ensure optimal brain functions. Go out be active, play around with your grandkids. Exercise to whatever level your body allows you to but stay active. Ensure that your diet is high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, milk & 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.

-Waqaas Rumani

Businessman & a SQUATS Academy scholar