Over 2 billion people worldwide are dealing with brain-based health & productivity challenges. More than 16 million people in the United States are living with cognitive impairment: trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions  (and they are not all politicians!).

Among adults> 50 yrs in the US, ‘staying mentally sharp’ outranks Social Security and physical health as the top priority & concern. (Sharp Brains Market Report- 2013)

Impact of Physical Activity

Even short bursts of physical activity such as a brisk walk greatly benefits the brain. Frontiers in Psychology Mar 2012
An activity, like ballroom dancing, that incorporates coordination, rhythm, and strategyalong with cardiovascular exercise, integrates different parts of the brain and has a higher impact on cognitive functioning over exercise or mental tasks alone!  BrainHQ.com
o   Research from UCLA demonstrated that exercise increased growth factors in the brain—making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA2004)
o   Aerobic exercise acts like a first aid kit for damaged brain cells
o   Morning exercise before work spikes brain activity & prepares you for mental stresses, increases retention of new information & results in better reaction to complex situations

Elevated Glucose & Brain Function

Higher resting blood glucose is associated with lower memory capacities and neurodegenerative processes

Chronically higher blood glucose levels exert a negative influence on cognition, possibly mediated by structural changes in learning-relevant brain areas. (Neurology 2013)

Enemies of the Brain

o   Elevated blood sugar levels promote inflammation
o   Low levels of oxygen in the blood
o   Inflammation
o   Neglect, little use compared to challenging problems & inquiry
o   Reduced blood flow for any reason, such as vascular diseases, clots, aneurisms, obstructed blood vessels
o   Lack of nutrients such as proteins & fats
o   Lack of sleep, especially REM stage of sleep which provides dreaming
o   Concussions, impact injuries & chemical injury
o   Inflammation- beta-amyloid protein connections in the brain: Alzheimer’s

Top 20 Antioxidant-containing Foods  (Per a normal serving size)

  • black beans
  • blackberries
  • globe artichoke
  • blueberries
  • currants
  • walnuts/chestnuts
  • coffee
  • strawberries
  • plums
  • dark chocolate

Seven Strategies for Preventing Cognitive Decline

  1. Participate in moderate physical activity or exercise regularly; especially in activities requiring coordination like dance
  2. Focus on consuming nutrients supporting brain functions & inflammation such as antioxidants (coffee, wine, dark chocolate, curcumin, grapeseed extract), amino acids (proteins), omega-3/DHA, beneficial fats & rich sources of B-vitamins and & other helpful nutrients
  3. Keep blood glucose levels below 100 mg/dL as much as possible (low glycemic foods, fiber, protein & antioxidants)
  4. Avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats) and use coconut oil as an alternative
  5. Sleep 7 -8 hours/ day and address any sleep disturbance issues such as apnea
  6. Challenge your brain with work, figuring, reading, cross-word puzzles or other mental exercises such as mind development methods or engaging games & interaction (examples: Luminosity, BrainHQ)
  7. Spend time in the sunlight- increased Vit D!Take time for meditation , prayer or quiet focus reviewing the days activities