Healthy eating linked to better brains

05.07.15 |

A healthy diet reduces your chances of cognitive decline

Losing weight is typically where people begin their journey to Optimal Health. Initially, this interest is often rooted in wanting to look better, but when the weight starts to come off they discover how good it feels to be closer to a healthy weight. And that opens the door to a new world of well-being, where we can transition from surviving to thriving, enjoying the many benefits of vibrant health.

The rewards for Optimal Health cannot only be a longer life, but a longer life lived more fully.

For example, the American Academy of Neurology recently published a study correlating a healthy diet with a reduced incident of cognitive decline. Study participants were over the age of 55, studied for at least 5 years, and hailed from 40 different countries. After multiple tests, the authors concluded that a healthy diet reduces an individual’s chances of cognitive decline by 24%.

In less scientific terms, eating healthy could give you more time to create meaningful memories with the people you love. A sharper, more engaged mind can help you to be more present and to more fully enjoy your life. Cognitive decline is a scary prospect, and it can be a slippery slope into a number of other health challenges.

Healthy eating is one way you can keep your brain sharp. Here are some others:

  • Exercise. Regular activity has been proven to have a number of mental health benefits, emotional wellness and mental sharpness among them.
  • Read. Activities like reading challenge your brain to engage new ideas and retain new information, which help to keep you mentally strong.
  • Use your off-hand. Trying something as simple as using your left hand instead of your right for simple household chores challenges your brain to make new neural pathways.
  • Pick up a hobby. Adopting a hobby can challenge you to learn a new skill, which will help to keep you mentally engaged with the world around you.

Despite the colloquial separation of physical health and mental health, your health cannot be so easily divided into islands. Your health is intertwined, with each choice rippling throughout your well-being. If you have been focusing on Habits of Health that help you to lose weight and to be more active, you have likely experienced mental rewards as well. You will experience similar rewards if you make an effort to improve your mental well-being as well as many of the things that benefit mental health also benefit your physical health.

These choices and these rewards add up to a lifestyle rooted in healthy choices. I take the time to write these posts to help you see the bigger picture of your health when you might be wrapped up in overcoming one particular obstacle or achieving one specific goal.
You might be trying to lose weight now, but in the long run, you are laying the foundation for a lifestyle that enables you to spend more time with the special people in your life.

And your health will help you to treasure those moments, so don’t give up!