Across the world today, there are 47.5 million people struggling with dementia, or the decline of mental ability so severe it affects a person’s day-to-day life. The term describes a range of symptoms from decline in memory to reduced brain function, which affects a person’s ability to perform regular activities. Damage in the brain’s nerve cells causes dementia, with many parts of the brain being prone to this type of damage. The symptoms are dependent on which part of the brain is affected.
Learning a foreign language is arguably one of the best ways to exercise the brain, as the process of learning a new language requires an immense amount of brain activation in various areas of the brain. When the brain hears a word, the brain immediately begins to analyze the sounds to make sense of what is being said. This process of understanding and formulating responses engages different parts of the brain at once. Various executive functions are utilized and developed in the process, including attention, memory, reasoning, organization, and planning. In fact, these parts of the brain are notably larger in bilingual people than in monolinguals, making them able to manage complex situations and switch back and forth between tasks with more ease.
Recent studies have estimated Alzheimer's disease to be the third leading cause of death among the elderly, just behind cancer and heart disease, affecting more than 5 million Americans today. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder of the brain that compromises memory and cognitive functioning. Degenerative changes occur in the brain, making every day activities more and more challenging until the person becomes unable to care for themself. Additionally, Alzheimer's is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly population, accounting for 60%-70% of dementia cases, which results in further loss of cognitive functioning. Even the easiest, most commonly performed tasks in a person's life become impossible.
Over the course of a person’s life, as the body begins to age, so does the brain. Although this is the natural progression of life, there are a variety of ways to keep the brain healthy. One of the most important ways to care for the brain is to focus on good nutrition. Although it only weighs about three pounds, the brain uses 20% of the calories eaten each day. There are a variety of foods that have been proven to fight brain aging, including these 10 foods!
Did you know that your brain is only about 3% of your body weight, but it uses up to 17% of your energy? In order for the brain to function properly, it needs specific nutrients, making the food we eat vital to brain function. What types of nutrients do we need to help our brains function? Read this list to learn more about what the brain needs!