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What is cognitive health?

Cognitive health refers to mental functions such as the ability to maintain attention, respond to stimuli, think, reason, and remember. Cognitive health can be affected by nutrition, genetics, lifestyle choices, and environment. 

What are cognitive health solutions?

While there are some things that are out of our control for cognitive health such as our age and genetics, there are approaches we can take to maintain or improve our cognitive health. First, sleeping is important for brain health. Getting at least 7 hours per night of uninterrupted sleep gives the brain the time to store memories and clear abnormal proteins. Staying mentally active can also help. Activities such as puzzles or Sudoku keep the brain active and stimulated. Maintaining a healthy social life is also important for cognitive health by preventing atrophy. Lastly, a healthy diet and exercise keep the brain healthy and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Why is cognitive health important?

Taking care of our cognitive health can maintain its current level of function and prevent brain atrophy and disease in the future. Research has found that a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, and mental stimulation can keep the brain sharp, improve mental focus, and reduce diseases such as Alzheimer’s. 

How can I maintain cognitive health?

Maintaining cognitive health can be accomplished by many different approaches. Even better, these approaches can not only maintain cognitive health, but also prevent decline and disease in the future. First, sleeping is important for brain health. Getting at least 7 hours per night of uninterrupted sleep gives the brain the time to store memories and clear abnormal proteins. Staying mentally active can also help. Activities such as puzzles or Sudoku keep the brain active and stimulated. Maintaining a healthy social life is also important for cognitive health by preventing atrophy. Lastly, a healthy diet and exercise keep the brain healthy and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

What foods can improve my cognitive health?

Focusing on a mostly plant-based diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a great approach to cognitive health. Additionally, adding healthy fats such as fatty fish like salmon and olive oil is helpful as they improve cellular function and can decrease risk of coronary artery disease, increases mental focus, and may slow cognitive decline in the elderly. Eggs also contain an important nutrient called choline that is important for brain function. Most Americans do not get enough choline in their diets, especially if only eating egg whites. Avoiding red meat and sodium is also beneficial. This Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, however further research is needed to determine if there are any aspects in particular that have the biggest impact on cognitive health. 

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