B.H.E.M. – Brain Health through Eating, Moving

The brain is an organ that requires care and attention. The passage of time is reflected in its’ waning performance. Memory, Reasoning, Fine motor skills, Balance – these are some of the functions that exhibit decline with age. However, with care, the brain can perform with youthful dexterity well into old age. Physical balance and mental acuity can be supported and enhanced through the practice of tai chi and adherence to beneficial dietary habits.

Continual use and minimal care of any object will affect it in deleterious ways. The brain is no different. Aging presents the mind with challenges; these challenges can be problematic for the individual. So often taken for granted are the abilities to figure out correct change when standing in line, to recall names of people who have recently been met or the capacity to walk down the street without fear of stumbling over. These are some of the actions that can fade over time. Compromises in brain function impose limits on the quality of life.

Extending form the hips
This is a technique called ‘Press’

Practicing tai chi and consuming a brain-supporting diet will help to safeguard against decline in brain function. The combination of activity and diet is supported, from various sources, as having positive impact on brain health and function. According to Jimenez-Martin (2013), Leung (2010), Hackney & Wolf (2014) and Liu & Frank (2010), tai chi is a cost- effective modality for improving static and dynamic balance and minimizing the prevalence of falls among the elderly.  Food containing components such as Pyrroloquinoline Quinone, kiwifruit (Life Extension, July 2018), and anthocyanins, blueberries (Life Extension, November 2018), can slow down cognitive decline. As it is necessary to eat every day, there is opportunity to consume beneficial nutrient for the brain. Likewise, certain portions of tai chi can be practiced throughout the day for its’ brain supportive benefits.

The elderly human body displays the effects of aging in ways. Physiological and mental functions, naturally, slow down. Digestive functions, physical capabilities, ambulatory abilities, cognitive capacities – these all can display varying degrees of compromise with age. Eventually, many of these maladies can be traced back to discontinuity in the brain due to lack of movement and improper diet. Consequently, taking care of the brain is tantamount to aiding in the maintenance of the body’s longevity.

Tai Chi has been documented as an advantageous modality for the mind. As a moving practice, tai chi helps to establish greater kinesthetic awareness (i. e. the ability to be aware of one’s own body parts, position, and movement. Focusing is a major component of the practice. Movement sequencing and timing along with coordination of movement with breath serves to enhance cognition in individuals with either no or mild cognitive impairment.

A satisfying whole grain meal.

Diet can significantly influence brain health and function. Consumption of saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, the typical western diet, is linked with reduced global cognitive function, cognitive decline and dementia. In excess, this diet leads to enduring changes in the learning, memory and reward centers of the brain. Some foods that help to support brain function are walnuts, crab cakes salmon, flax seeds, sardines, green tea, chocolate, eggs, blueberries, avocados and spinach.

So, are we adhering to practices that will support the aging process?? The diminishing of cognitive faculties is not abrupt; the decline is accumulative over time. Our daily actions, in the way of activity and eating, can positively influence our brains response to the depredations of time. Is there the experience of fun in activities that bolster brain health? Is there enjoyment in the preparation and consumption of brain enhancing foods? Tai chi is an activity that many can  access. Eating in a more healthful manner is a personal choice.  Everyday is an opportunity to move toward better brain health for the long haul.

Let the trainers at Ab-Sutra Wellness and Fitness assist you with regaining balance and mobility. Tai Chi for balance and rehabilitation.


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