Women can take simple steps to bolster their brain power now and keep mentally agile as they age, according to an article in The Sun by fitness expert Nicki Waterman and nutritionist Amanda Ursell.
First up is the importance of nutrition, which starts during pregnancy, as the fetus is hungry for solid nutrients to improve brain development. Ursell encouraged pregnant women to consume good sources of magnesium, including whole grains, nuts and lentils; zinc, found in wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and red meat; folic acid, ideally via a 400 mcg/d supplement, to help the development of the spinal cord and central nervous system; choline, found in eggs, which helps in production of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter; and omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain development.
Children and adults also need various nutrients to support their developing brains. One important step, Ursell said, is ensuring children eat breakfast to provide nutrients that fuel the brain. Other key compounds, she noted, include iron for brain development, memory and concentration; vitamin D, which supports learning and memory; B vitamins, which studies suggest can fight memory impairment in aging; and vitamin E, found in nuts and seeds, which can stave off mental decline.
In the exercise arena, it’s as simple as walking, according to Waterman, who noted studies have found walking just a mile a day can slow memory loss and maintain brain volume, while also reducing the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise also improves blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen for optimal performance; Waterman added studies have found aerobic exercise may even promote the growth of new brain cells.