What Is Mental Acuity? How a Healthy Lifestyle can Influence Memory Loss
For many, memory loss is part of the natural aging process. There are new studies that suggest that you may have control to slow down its progression. The simple solution is to adopt better lifestyle choices like a healthy diet and regular exercise.
By taking your health seriously, you could slow down not only memory loss, but also Alzheimer’s and mental acuity decline. At Vivolor™ Therapeutics Inc, we care about your comfort and wellbeing as you age. Here’s our guide on mental acuity.
Mental Acuity – What Is It?
Mental acuity or “mental sharpness” is a person’s ability to focus, reason, and recall information. If you are beginning to lose mental acuity, you may be experiencing cognitive decline. There are plenty of causes for cognitive decline, like mental disorders and the aging process. There are also causes that are unknown.
Mental acuity is crucial as it has a significant impact on how we move through the world, helping us live our lives effectively, efficiently, and safely.
As mentioned above, mental acuity is composed of several factors, such as reasoning and focus. The one key factor that hits close to home for many is memory recall.
After all, it is a sad picture when aging parents or grandparents cannot remember their family members. While memory loss is a natural part of aging, there are things that may help slow down the progression.
How To Improve Memory Recall
The health industry has always claimed that a healthy diet and regular exercise can keep the body healthy. This is also true when it comes to memory. Research suggests that lifestyle factors may have a significant impact on cognitive health and memory recall.
For example, neurology professor Dr. Dale Bredesen from UCLA compiled a list of habits that are associated with the start of Alzheimer’s. The compilation included exposure to mold, fatty foods, and environmental toxins. It also includes lifestyle factors, like the lack of restorative sleep and regular exercise.
Another lesser-known culprit, but maybe the worst, is sugar. According to the study, people who develop Alzheimer’s also suffer from insulin resistance (a symptom of diabetes). None of these factors alone can lead to the decline of one’s cognitive functions, but each increases your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
A combination of unhealthy habits can disrupt the body’s equilibrium and will slow cognitive functions. Fortunately, you can offset the adverse effects by optimizing your diet for brain function and adopting a regular exercise schedule.
Related: Learn about memory Loss!
Nutrition For The Brain
Sugar may be the most unfavorable ingredient for your brain health, but healthy fats are possibly the best. There are plenty of studies that suggest a Mediterranean diet may delay and prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Such a diet typically includes healthy fats from olives, nuts, and fish.
According to Dr. Gad Marshall from Brigham Women’s Hospital and Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment, reducing red meat and incorporating healthy fats can drastically improve your mental acuity.
The Mediterranean diet’s positive impact on brain health was further reinforced with another study. The research developed a new diet that combined the Mediterranean diet with Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). Together, the new diet was dubbed the MIND diet.
The MIND diet highly recommends loading up on nuts and green leafy vegetables daily. Poultry, fish, whole grains, berries, and bananas are only recommended in moderation throughout the week. The diet recommends limited consumption of dairy products, fried foods, pastries, and red meat.
Martha Clare Morris is the leading researcher behind the MIND diet. According to her, vegetables are crucial for reducing or preventing the early onset of cognitive decline.
Romaine, collard greens, kale, or spinach should be consumed at least six times per week due to their protective qualities. Morris added that blueberries and strawberries are associated with improved mental performance in animal studies.
Exercising The Body Boosts The Mind
Is there a direct correlation between exercise and memory? That is the question that the EXERT study seeks to investigate.
This ongoing study explores the idea that exercise may improve cognitive health, specifically for those with Alzheimer’s. The test follows a similar approach that pharmaceutical companies use for testing new drugs.
But instead of taking pills, the participant completes a workout session either by running on the treadmill or stretching. According to Baker, researchers over the last 20 years have gathered reliable evidence that exercising at the right intensity can help protect the brain as you grow older.
A Swedish study is taking a different approach, testing the hypothesis that working out the body and mind can decrease cognitive decline. The study included 800 women participants, and it involved both physical and mental exercises.
Physical exercises may mean playing sports, gardening, or walking. Cognitive exercises included doing needlework, socializing, attending a concert, or playing an instrument. The results of the study suggest that both physical and mental exercises can help in maintaining cognitive acuity during midlife. Mentally stimulating exercises can reduce dementia by as much as 34%. Furthermore, regular, intense workouts can help in reducing different forms of dementia by as much as 57% when compared to people with sedentary lifestyles.
According to these findings, exercising both your body and brain can help in maintaining mental acuity and reducing the risk of age-related mental problems and natural decline.
Mental acuity is your ability to recall information, focus, and reason. For most people, mental acuity naturally declines as one grows older. However, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about it.
Some studies strongly suggest that what you eat and what you do with your body can have a significant impact on your cognitive capabilities.
Sugar is perhaps the most damaging food ingredient for brain health, but green leafy vegetables and healthy fats may be the best. It’s the reason why the Mediterranean diet is recommended by many people if you want to start with a nutrition regime that can help boost or maintain your cognitive abilities.
There’s also plenty of studies that doing the right physical workout at the right intensity can help maintain healthy mental acuity. If you want the best results, then give your brain a workout with cognitive exercises.
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